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Proactive or reactive. Which best describes your marketing?

For most people in business one of their top three reasons for conducting any sort of marketing or advertising is to find new customers.

So why, when it comes to digital marketing, do so many businesses put so much money and effort into processes that only work when that elusive customer actually tries to find them?

Search engines turned the vast, mysterious, all-knowing but incomprehensible World Wide Web into a useable resource and by 2000 the biggest library the world had ever known had it’s own Head Librarian and she was called Google.

If people wanted to know something, they Googled it. If people wanted to compare two products, they Googled that. If people wanted to go back to a web site they had visited a hundred times before, yep, they asked Google to find it for them.

Search was how we started almost every Internet experience. Coming top of page one of the Google search results for key terms or words was the holy grail of digital marketing. That fixation on ‘search’ has stayed with a lot of people as we’ve progressed from SEO to Search Marketing, PPC and AdWords.

And all that has its place. And it’s a very important place.

But you search for what you know is there. Like the brightest student in the class putting up their hand and saying, ‘Me! Me! I know’, when the teacher asks a question, PPC and AdWords respond to a search query.

It’s a reactive process.

In traditional marketing, a large percentage of advertising spend was aimed at reaching out to new customers, people businesses hoped would be interested in what they had to offer. Those potential customers could be defined by demographics and psychographics. Print and broadcast media was chosen that was most likely to appeal to that target audience. Ads were placed.

That’s a proactive process. You go out and find new customers, you don’t wait for them to come looking for you. And that’s how Facebook Targeted Advertising works.

Google knows a hell of a lot about the Internet, the content that is on it, and how people use that content and move through it. Facebook knows a hell of a lot about people.

If you know who your customers or fans are, Facebook can draw up an audience that consists of the top 1% or 2% of any population that is most like them.

If you know what they like or what their interests are, Facebook can provide an audience targeted on those interests and filtered by age, gender, geography or any of a host of other criteria.

As you advertise to those audiences and track the results of those campaigns with Conversion Pixels you can not only make your advertising more effective and efficient, you have a powerful market research tool that will help you see more clearly what your core market actually looks like.

So, search or social? To be fair, there are pros and cons for both and if you ask Google for advice or read a few articles that appear on your newsfeed, you are going to get a bewildering torrent of statistics that support one or the other of them.

But your business is unique, and the best way to find out what works for you is to try out a few different things. Decide what you want to achieve, measure what you actually do achieve and make an informed decision.

We can help you with that. Its one of the things that we do. So go on, be proactive and reach out to us.

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About the Author

SIMON MINCHIN CREATIVE DIRECTOR I like to make a difference. I like to work with clients rather than for them. I think my role is to see the wood for the trees; to make thinking, communicating and doing as simple as possible, rather than as clever as possible.

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