What's the best channel for ad spend? Readers respond

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What's the best channel for ad spend? Readers respond to March's Gloves Off question.

Tim Little, direct marketing consultant and marketing list broker at Knowledge Concepts, says that social media and mobile fan pages are about generating insight, advocacy, loyalty and engagement — but not necessarily sales.

Most marketers admit that they are not getting a good return for their investment. It takes a while to develop relationships and then to see a return. Brands know it's a huge channel where people spend a lot of time, and logically their marketing money should be there, but it can be scary to approach it with a long-term view. Email marketing can be very effective for building relationships with active customers but can perform poorly when prospecting.

Andreas Schwartz, senior direct marketing advisor/manager at Canada Post, says marketers need to follow the return on investment of all media and consider integration opportunities.

Email is still one of the workhorses of relationship marketing and is part of true permission marketing strategies, when followed correctly. Email response rates to inquiries or sales are directly measurable even though there has been a drop in overall open rates. Social and mobile media need to be put in perspective; only 25% (approximately) of Canadians have an active mobile phone and then you need to ask, how many of those are used for social media and mobile marketing? In social media we are starting to see people “de-like” as they become more aware of what a true “like” means to their own personal brand. In addition, I have yet to see convincing case studies that show a “like” translate into sales.

Merry Law, president of WorldVu LLC, says that the answer is reliant on a marketer's goals.

Is the goal direct marketing or brand visibility? Each marketing group should determine their goal, and there is no correct answer that applies to everyone. Direct marketing historically has been driven by measureable sales results. Social media does not seem to be providing significant sales. Email marketing provides measureable sales results — and a decent response, if done well. Social media at this time seems great for brand awareness, if it's done well. Mobile marketing seems to fall somewhere between those two and has too many components for a facile answer. The split on spending between social media, mobile and email depends on the goal and one's particular results with each. Mix it up and test, test, test!

Rick Adams, direct marketing specialist at EU Services, says both answers can be correct in different cases.

It depends. I agree with Mr. Chapman. If you are diligent about tracking the results of your efforts, you fund the ones that have delivered the best results. That being said, you need to have a presence on both and continue to mix it up to find the best mix and be creative! Test different messaging and segment your population for the most relevant copy to the individual.

Bill Spink, EVP and CCO of DMW Direct, says the seemingly obvious answer isn't always the right one.

I just have a natural aversion to black-and-white Q&A. At first blush, it sounds like a natural question relating to digital media. But I don't believe I could confidently answer yes [or] no to: “Should marketers spend more on radio than print this year?” At least without knowing what is being marketed and to what audience. It's like asking: “Should you spend more of your personal entertainment money in 2012 on home movie watching via the internet, or movie theater tickets?” It kinda depends on what you want to accomplish, doesn't it? What have you identifi ed as this year's primary business and marketing strategy? With that answer in hand, unique to each business, then asking what digital tactics will best support reaching your objectives.

Harris Bank, sales manager at Tappan Zee Printers and Copy Center, believes that phone conversations can sometimes bring the best returns for marketers who are trying to source out new clients and prospects.

Email is only good if you are working with a prospect on a project. For “cold turkey” email, I would not waste my time. After all, no one requested your information. The best tool I found is the telephone for new prospects. I go out to the customers that have a business in an office building or small business on the street and leave a card. You have to leave 1,000 business cards to get a response, but it is worth it. And it takes perseverance. After leaving cards, set up a telephone directory and start calling every three to six months. No one is cold-calling anymore, because everyone thinks that people only order on the Internet. If you keep calling on the phone, you will be able to arrange appointments, but it takes perseverance. On the Internet, the customer has to pay in full before the job is started, but with the local copy shop you can make financial arrangements. Some print jobs you cannot order on the Internet. Nothing is better than personal service to establish a dialogue between the customer and you.

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