Established Ad Platforms, Vs. Thinking About Where Your Tribe Gathers

You have a couple broad options when putting your product or service to market: 1) using established ad platforms like Google and Facebook (whether you configure the targeting, or they do, or both), 2) considering where your demographic gathers and placing ads there. Just as important is what you do with the attention you’ve gotten.

As Gary Vaynerchuk points out, marketing is really about placing notices and offers in ‘attention markets’. Meaning: you can theoretically advertise anywhere human attention is directed.

And in fact all marketing channels, media and sources work because of this fact. But it’s helpful to think in terms of ‘where do people look?’, or ‘where does their attention go?’ rather than considering a known or standard list of marketing channels. 

First Things First: Be Differentiated

It’s basic supply and demand: if what you’re offering is similar to what others are, as a function of who has access to it (if it can be shipped and sold extra-regionally, it should be really, really different, and serve a ‘niche’ market), then you’ll a) pay more for visibility, because of competition, and b) get a smaller yield, because of competition. You want a monopoly

Typical or Established Ad Platforms

Millions of businesses use Google AdWords, or embedded Demand-Side Platform display networks. They can be highly effective. Here are some characteristics: 

  • They allow both manual targeting and granular targeting. 
  • They’re incentivized to match you with your target demographic, since they’re typically cost per click. 
  • Their click-through rates are typically below 5%. 
  • Their cost can be considerable. 

If you’re going this route, you can reduce expenses by selecting emerging or alternative tech platforms. 

Going To Where Your People Aggregate

You can advertise just as effectively, or in combination with established ad platforms, by simply considering where your demographic gathers. 

  • This could include conventions or symposia.
  • It could include ad or marketing partners. 
  • It could include offline, print, or direct mail. 

Basically the sky is the limit, but by thinking broadly and asking your demographic gathers, you may well end up spending less on a lead, because these modalities are not saturated. 

Marketing is not  complicated; it’s noticing the people in your demographic of your offering. That’s all. It’s placing a notice in a place where it can get attention, and marketing is done *well* when you make that offer irresistible when people see it.

What To Do When You Have Their Attention

It’s much easier to offer than to ask, hence the proliferation of ‘lead magnets’ in recent years. We would advise that you simply produce a plethora of great content, and offer it upfront, without condition – helping your demographic rather than selling to them. If you do this, you’ll get a few benefits.

  1. People will respect you as a ‘thought leader’ in your field.
  2. People will share your content. 
  3. People will appreciate your assistance. 
  4. People will feel subtly indebted or obligated to you. When we get free stuff, we are more likely to buy – even though we don’t advise giving stuff away for any reason other than to help people. 

A Two-Pronged Strategy

Often a two-pronged strategy is best. Try configuring your ‘black box’ ad platforms, and let them to do the matching, also. And shades of both. Look at your cost and run A/B tests. But also think creatively about where your people gather, irrespective of whether that’s online or offline, whether the ad platform makes it easy, or not. 

In some cases, street signage near a popular footpath can make a difference for a new bakery or deli.