Pinterest, Vimeo, the Cloud, crowd funding, Instagram,You-tube, facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, advertising, blogs, viral campaigns, on and off-line networking, leaflets, exhibitions, blogs, webinars…

We live in exciting times. Every day a new way to communicate, contact, get and keep in touch with our customers and prospects arrives, adding to this already crowded party. As more and more  marketing tools tumble out into the world, how do we decide which ones to use and how do we use them wisely?

Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice for yourself and your organisation.

1. Decide on which marketing tool matches your organisation’s market positioning
Now it might be that your desired positioning it to be cutting edge, niche and a trail blazer. In this case, shiny and new might be what you use as this reinforces your business position.

Or it could be your company’s desired market position is to be seen as “trusted, reliable, dependable”. Therefore, you should choose the marketing tools which reflect this position. These are normally the tools that have been around a while, are established, have mass usage and mass appeal.

If you do want to choose this position and approach though, be alert; if you arrive too late, you could spend your time and marketing effort on the party that everyone else is now leaving. Check the tool you choose is one which your market place still respects and responds to.

2. Go where your customers and prospects hang out
If you are after the cool gang, go to the cool party. If you are after the mature client, go to the party they are at, and so on.

Find out where your customers and prospects are, what they are reading, watching and interacting with, and join them at that place. It might not be your personal choice, but it might be the wisest business choice.

3. Have a purpose first, choose your tool next
Like all good marketing, decide on your goal first then choose your tool. Does a carpenter pick up a hammer and go “Hmmm…what can I hit?”. No. They start knowing what the end result is they want to achieve and then work back from there.

Marketing is the same. Decide on your marketing goals, then choose the right marketing tools for that job. Shiny might not always be best.

4. Be genuine
Ever spotted a fake at a party? The person who is chatting to you while glancing over your shoulder to see if someone more interesting to them has entered the room? Marketing is like that. People can spot a fake and if they don’t spot it immediately, they eventually will and they will resent you for it.

It’s simple: be honest in your claims, genuine in your interactions and intentions, and apologise when you get it wrong. Just be genuine as a business and as a person.

5. Keep your options open
The business environment and world is changing quickly. Once you have chosen your marketing tools and are using them wisely and well, don’t shut your eyes to what else is going on in the market place, or you could find yourself behind the curve again.

For example, one of my clients is using the big three social media networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) for their awareness marketing campaigns but they know more are gaining ground with certain groups. Therefore, they have asked us to set up Pinterest and Vimeo accounts for them. They are dabbling in them when they have the budget and time, ready to ramp it up if the zeitgeist moves in that direction.

To end…
With the advent of new and exciting marketing tools every day, we could easily spend our time “playing” with them all and then find that while it was fun, we’ve got no closer to achieving our goals. Don’t be drawn to shiny and new for their own sake; assess them against your organisation’s needs and goals, and then pick the one that will work best for your purpose. Leave shiny for shiny’s sake to the magpies.

By Kara Stanford, MD, KMS Marketing

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