Omnipresence: The art of being everywhere
Previously printed in Austin Business District Magazine
By Pete Monfre
Physics dictates that you can’t be in two places at the same time. With all due respect to Mr. Einstein, I disagree. When it comes to marketing, omnipresence is a worthy and achievable goal. In fact, being everywhere is easier and less expensive than you think.
I hope it seems obvious why you would want to be everywhere. Familiarity is a powerful force when it comes to marketing and sales. Sometimes this is referred to as “top of mind” – the first option someone thinks of when they have a need. When a company or brand is familiar, this often equates to credibility and the idea that “they must be good, I hear about them all the time.”
There is no doubt that business people are bombarded with media choices and information sources. From television and radio to magazines and newspapers to billboards to direct mail and more, everywhere we turn we see marketing. Add in blogs, email, web sites and banner ads and it’s easy to believe that the average person is exposed to over 3000 messages daily. So, how do we become omnipresent when there are so many places for our marketing message?
The reality for most people is that we tend to gravitate towards a handful of media and information sources as a daily routine. For most companies, actually being everywhere is cost prohibitive. However, even small organizations can create this impression simply by understanding how their buyers evaluate and receive information.
Performing a survey of your client base will allow you to spot trends in how information is gathered. Asking which trade publications customers read, how they evaluate potential vendors, what their criteria is for comparing one company against another and which non-business publications they read can help you determine where your message needs to be to create a high level of awareness.
The more you can find out about the habits of the people already buying your products or services, the better you can narrow down how to reach similar people. Where do they hang out on-line? What social networking tools do they use? What blogs do they read? Which associations do they belong to? The answers to these questions will tell you how you can put your message in front of potentially large groups of like minded people.
Taking this one step further, defining the universe of people most likely to buy, (MLBs) and concentrating all marketing and sales efforts on this finite group will greatly increase the odds of your message cutting through the clutter. Thus, instead of a nebulous goal of “We’re going to capture 20 percent of the global market…” our goal becomes “We are going to ensure these X number of people know who we are, what we do and our value equation within the next X months.” Now, that is an attainable goal.
Once you have a clear picture of how your MLBs seek and digest information, you can make an intelligent decision as to which tactics and media will be most effective in reaching them. If they congregate at a few national trade events, you’ll want to be there. Add in some editorial coverage and/or advertising in key publications, a targeted direct marketing program, some email permission marketing and a social media strategy and you have the makings of omnipresence.
However, there is one caveat to the above scenario. You’ll still be competing with other companies for attention. Being a wallflower isn’t going to work. If your marketing approach screams “We’re just like the other guys!” nobody is going to take notice. If you are implementing a public relations strategy, be newsworthy or controversial. If you are running print ads, be bold and run as large an ad as possible. Have a position and stand by it. This is not a time to be shy – you are one of 3000 messages – make sure you have something to say.
But most of all, make sure you are speaking to your buyer’s most pressing and emotional needs. If you understand what is most important to them during the buying process you can craft a message that is super relevant and everywhere they turn. Is there primary concern speedy support? Are they most concerned about geographical location? Can you solve a frustrating problem?
Finally, you’ll need to commit to a consistent effort. Too many companies kill potentially effective marketing programs because they didn’t give them enough time to work. “We tried (insert tactic here) but it just doesn’t work” is a common refrain I hear all the time. The fact is that the message was irrelevant, the budget was microscopic and there was zero commitment. It is as if the goal is to save money rather than reach the target audience. If your goal is to save money, don’t do anything. You’ll save big time.
Remember, you have to break through the clutter at least seven times before you gain access to the buyer’s mind. Set a budget, commit to the program for the long term, track it closely and reap the rewards. The key to turning your marketing expenditure into an investment is seeing the effort as holistic instead of just a series of projects. Before you know it, people will be saying “You guys are everywhere!”. Of course, you’re only everywhere you need to be.