One of the most rewarding challenges I’ve faced in my career as a marketer was the task of creating a regional marketing plan for a large national brand. The company is a well known real estate franchisor and my role was to focus on 22 western states, 73 market areas and the 1,300 franchisees therein. With such a large, diverse territory I wasn’t going to be effective with a single media strategy.
This is where the concept of layering comes in. Think of it as “marketing irrigation” – creating channels through which a larger media plan can flow to a local market. One article can’t cover what years of experience can teach but here are a few considerations to selecting the proper marketing vehicles or channels to create layered exposure.
Budget & Cost
Media is priced based on the size of the audience, so larger markets will eat up your budget faster. If you do the majority of your business in large markets you still need to make effective choices to extend the life of your message. In my case, the national buy focused on television so targeted radio, online and print ads allowed me to channel the national message and conserve my budget.
If the majority of your revenue occurs in a specific time of year then focus local and national media buys at that time. However, if the seasonality is regional then focus on the key selling season for the selected markets. Layering multiple media gives you the opportunity to reach the consumers at different times throughout the season.
Promotions & Sponsorships
Concentrating on high profile events can help reach a large audience and address regional relevance. A budget can be extended through co-sponsoring with another company. The promotion or sponsorship is most effective if it’s relevant to your product or industry or helps to positively affect brand image, such as charity events. Promotions or sponsorships can also add focus to any timing strategy. If you want to focus on the summer season, selecting an event related to baseball, water sports or travel will help you reach a larger target audience.
The more a message or marketing vehicle is tailored to the market the more your audience can relate. In real estate, we made our message more relevant in the Northwest by focusing on the vacation home market. In the Southwest we focused on the Latino market. Both affected our message and our selection of media and made our story relatable.
Step outside of the usual marketing box and look at alternative media. There’s a large pest exterminator company that customized its service vehicles with large rat ears and a tail! Snapple® incorporated the “clicker” sound of their lids in their television and radio ads then used the lids to generate sales with promotions. Getting creative in your media selection is even more impactful if you can use it as an “identifier” for your brand, product or service. It becomes part of your brand recognition and can shout even if your budget is more of a whisper.