Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Finding Success in Hesitation

By Frank Nyfenger
Hesitation can be a powerful tool. For example, hesitation saved those who thought twice about investing in Madoff Securities, but it hurt those who second-guessed their way out of investing in Facebook. Many business owners hesitate now over whether or not to dive into the social media world. Let’s take a quick look at why.
          As with any business decision, the cost variable is a major factor when deciding to enter or avoid the social media realm. Unfortunately the cost of creating and maintaining a social media presence can be high. The cost for the creation of a blog, not including the composition of posts, can tally from $1,000-$5,000, while Twitter accounts and a Facebook Company Page setup can total $1,000-$3,500. Outside of these initial fees you can expect steep monthly costs into the thousands of dollars per platform (click herefor a more extensive look at setup and maintenance costs).
Deferring from social media based on doubts of its success is likely a folly. A simple look at the costs companies are willing to pay is evidence to the success and potential of social media marketing. However, it makes sense and is more common to see companies deferring from social media because they may already have a valuable outlet to funnel their marketing dollars: direct mail.
A Target Marketing Magazine survey ranked direct mail highest among all channels in terms of customer acquisition, contact, and retention. There is no denying the effectiveness of direct mail marketing. Companies considering social media are likely to already be utilizing direct mail, and don’t see much reason in parting from this working and reliable marketing strategy, regardless of the emergence of a new channel.
One of the major issues business owners have with switching to social media is not knowing how to measure social media success. According to a survey by MarketingProfs, “When it comes to brand awareness, 78% of marketers said it is important to executive leadership, but just 32% of them feel they can actually assess this. Similarly, 66% said ROI is important to the decision-makers, but only 28% feel they can accurately demonstrate the connection.” There are free analytics platforms, such as Hootsuite, but they do not offer the metrics necessary for measurements like ROI. Acquiring such measurements requires additional costs. It seems as though all these costs act as a social media repellent to business owners.
As for direct mail marketing, nearly every step of the process is measurable. Sure, social media has great potential and can be effective, but the provocative question is, what’s wrong with direct mail? The simple answer is, there is no problem with direct mail. Business owners may find it difficult to part ways with this reliable medium, as they should. It works!
            So hesitate- or don’t! No one really knows where this social media thing is going, and direct mail has never let you down. At the end of the day, you have to excel in both to stay competitive.

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