One challenge most marketers face at one time or another is penetrating
a new market segment. Your company may introduce a new product that has
appeal beyond your current market segment, or your current products
offer a value proposition in markets you have not yet entered.
A new market segment could be geographically based — expanding a
regional business, for example, or going international. Or the new
market segment could be an industry you don’t currently sell into.
To effectively reach a new market segment, put online marketing to
work. Online marketing has no geographic boundaries and the right
tactics can target the specific market segment you’re going after.
Additionally, online marketing offers the benefit of speed – an online
campaign can “go live” much more quickly than a print or direct mail
campaign. Several online tactics in particular can help raise the
visibility of your brand to prospects unfamiliar with your company, and
generate leads for your sales team to turn into customers.
Online Banner Ads
Banner ads are highly visual, and highly visible. That makes them a great vehicle for showcasing your brand using your company logo, photos of products and/or short “headline” style messages. Banner ads can also be quality lead generators if you combine them with a compelling offer and a landing page on your Web site to capture prospect names.
One of the keys to success with banner ads is to place them only on those sites that target the customers and prospects you are trying to connect with. Otherwise, because most banner ads are priced according to the number of times they are shown (typically cost per thousand impressions), you’ll pay for impressions from the wrong people. The more focused the audience is, the higher cost per thousand impressions you should expect to pay.
Investing in a banner ad network, where your ads appear on a group of related Web sites, can expand your reach to new prospects and audiences that might otherwise be hard to target. Banner ad networks also allow you to reach your audience across multiple sites with a single buy, helping to save media research, program management and tracking time.
Advertising in an e-newsletter allows you to gain visibility in new markets and with prospects that are hard to reach but would be receptive to your message. To learn more about e-newsletter advertising, read the Marketing Maven article, “Adding e-Newsletter Advertising to Your Marketing Mix.”
Keyword Ads on Search Engines
One thing about search engines — you can reach almost any market out there. That’s as much a problem as a solution, since it can be difficult to harness just the market segment you want to reach when advertising on general search engines. That’s why you should also include vertical search engines that cater specifically to the audience and market you are targeting.
Although they can be effective, keyword ads shouldn’t be the primary focus of marketing to new segments. Their performance varies and you have no consistent presence or visibility because your ad only appears when someone searches for the specific keywords you bid on.
Crafting a Message for New Markets
When marketing to a new segment, you need to build trust with prospects who don’t know your company yet. Rather than a hard sell message, a more educational approach might work better. You can use your ads to promote white papers, application notes, case studies, articles, how-to’s or other useful information related to challenges that prospects in the market face (and your products happen to help solve).
Work with Your Media Partners
When trying to reach new market segments, define this market for your media partners; have them demonstrate to you how their marketing offering will help you find new customers in this new segment.
Most marketing can be classified as either push or pull: companies push their message out to prospects and customers through tactics such as direct mail, advertisements, e-mail marketing, and e-newsletter sponsorships; and they also establish a presence in online directories, Web sites and search engines to pull customers in real-time when prospects are searching for information, products and services like those your company offers.
Rather than struggling over whether to allocate resources to push marketing or pull marketing when attacking new segments, seek out a media partner that has your target audience captive and can offer both push and pull programs under an integrated program. You’ll get far more mileage out of your marketing investments.