Choosing the right marketing channels can be difficult.
Building up a new channel can take a lot of time, so you want to get it right the first time.
Relying on experience (or other peoples experience) might not work in your case. That’s why mental models are helpful as they provide a generic framework you can apply in different context.
What’s a mental model? You know the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule: 20% of the work generates 80% of the returns. That’s a mental model. Mental models exist many places — also in marketing. Other mental models in marketing could be the law of diminishing returns: Incremental returns will decrease over time after a certain point.
In this post, I provide five mental models that gives you structure, clarity, and guidance to choosing marketing channels that works for our business.
The 5 mental models are:
Split between channel types
Marketing Channel Diversification
Looks look at them one by one.
Choose marketing channels where you can target and reach your specific audience.
Example: If your target audience consists of young professionals who are active on social media platforms, such as Instagram and LinkedIn, focusing your marketing efforts on these channels would ensure that you are reaching and engaging with your target audience.
The first mental model focuses on understanding your target audience and identifying the channels they prefer. Conduct thorough market research and gather data on your audience’s demographics, preferences, and online behavior. By aligning your marketing efforts with the channels your audience frequents, you can maximize your reach and engagement. This is essentially product marketing. For example, if your audience is active on social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube, allocating resources towards these channels would be a strategic choice.
Practical Tip: Create buyer personas to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience and their preferred communication channels.
Choose marketing channels that align with the characteristics and unique selling points of your product or service.
Example: For a visually-oriented product, like a luxury watch, leveraging channels such as Instagram and YouTube where you can show videos or images.
Different products or services lend themselves to specific marketing channels. Consider the characteristics of your offering, such as complexity, visual appeal, and customer journey. For instance, a visually appealing product might thrive on channels like Instagram or Pinterest, while a service-based business might benefit from content marketing and thought leadership platforms. Analyze how your product aligns with different channels to identify the most suitable options for showcasing its unique value.
Practical Tip: Map out your customer journey and identify touchpoints where specific channels can enhance the overall experience.
Split between channel types
Make sure to balance organic (unpaid) and paid marketing channels, as well as owned (platforms you control) and earned (customer-driven) channels, to create a well-rounded marketing strategy that combines reach, control, and cost effectiveness
Example: Incorporating a mix of organic channels, such as content marketing through blog posts and social media engagement, with paid channels like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, while also leveraging owned channels like your website and email marketing, provides a comprehensive approach that combines cost-effective organic growth with targeted paid advertising and maintaining control over your owned platforms.
This mental model revolves around striking a balance between organic and paid channels, as well as owned and earned channels. Organic channels encompass free, non-paid methods such as content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media engagement. Paid channels involve investing in advertising on platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Owned channels refer to platforms you control, such as your website or blog, while earned channels are driven by user-generated content or word-of-mouth referrals.
Practical Tip: Create a marketing mix that combines both organic and paid channels, while leveraging the power of owned and earned channels for long-term growth.
Marketing Channel Diversification
Avoid relying too heavily on a single marketing channel by diversifying your efforts across multiple channels.
Example: Instead of relying solely on social media advertising, diversify your marketing channels to include email marketing, influencer collaborations, content partnerships with relevant websites or blogs, and offline events to reach different segments of your target audience and mitigate risks associated with changes in algorithms or user behavior on a single platform.
Relying too heavily on a single channel can be risky, as changes in algorithms or shifts in customer behavior can impact your results. The fourth mental model emphasizes the importance of diversifying your marketing channels. By spreading your efforts across multiple channels, you not only broaden your reach but also safeguard against potential disruptions. Consider incorporating channels such as email marketing, influencer collaborations, guest blogging, or even offline marketing initiatives.
Practical Tip: Regularly assess the performance of your marketing channels and explore new opportunities for diversification based on emerging trends and customer preferences.
Choose marketing channels that work together, leveraging their combined strengths to amplify your overall marketing impact and achieve better results than using them in isolation.
Example: Combining content marketing efforts with social media promotion can amplify your reach and engagement. For example, creating engaging blog content and then promoting it through your social media channels can drive traffic to your website, increase brand visibility, and generate social shares and user interactions that further enhance your content’s reach and impact.
The final mental model encourages you to identify and leverage synergies among your chosen marketing channels. Some channels work together, creating a multiplier effect on your overall marketing efforts. For example, combining content marketing with social media promotion can amplify your reach and engagement. Look for opportunities to integrate channels and create cohesive campaigns that resonate with your audience across different touchpoints.
Practical Tip: Collaborate with other businesses or influencers in your industry to tap into their existing channels and leverage cross-promotion strategies.
A few more tips on choosing your marketing channel.
The growth academy, Reforge, suggest that you evaluating channels based on three different types of attributes:
Marketing Channel Fit assesses the user relationship with a channel and how the channel would align with your strategic foundations.
Marketing Channel Behaviors assess the mechanics of a channel.
Marketing Channel Levers consider the tools available to adjust your approach and assess performance over time.
That can also work as a handy frame work for choosing your marketing channels.
Selecting the right marketing channels is critical for reaching your goals. By applying these five mental models you can choose the right marketing channels. Remember to continuously evaluate the performance of your channels.