One mistake brands sometimes make today is that with digital and social media so prevalent, they sometimes think “We don’t need print, TV or traditional marketing anymore.”

That’s usually not the case, says Joellyn “Joey” Sargent, a principal at strategic marketing and management consulting firm BrandSprout. “People don’t live in their computers,” she says. “They drive, watch TV. Looking at your customers’ lifestyles and figuring out how to reach them in all kinds of places is critical.”

An avid fan of technology and innovation, Sargent’s approach merges new media with traditional marketing. Before founding BrandSprout, she spent 20 years leading marketing strategy for businesses ranging from start-ups to the Fortune 500, including UPS and BellSouth (now AT&T).

As a senior marketing executive, she had global responsibility for branding, marketing strategy, communications and product management functions. Sargent has been quoted in Fox Business, Huffington Post and Social Media Today. She holds an MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit

Sargent is among the digital marketers, web strategists, senior Internet executives, thought-leaders, and entrepreneurs participating in the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta May 14-15. She also appeared at the event last year and you can read our interview preceding her presentation, “In the Age of Social Media, Companies don’t fully control the brand” here.

“It doesn’t make sense to try to reach customers from only one angle,” Sargent says. “You should start with a strong understanding of your target market and what they enjoy doing, what’s appropriate for them, where they are hanging out, what they’re reading and where they’re interacting.”

Sargent notes that while you could spend a lot of money on hard core research, you could also find out much of this information by “Talking to your customers in the field. Observe their behavior. Drill down on how they found out about you, who else they looked at, options they considered, and why they chose you. You’ll find good ways to get in front of them.”

Look for the most effective approaches

You will really want to look at the most effective approaches, she adds. “You might get in front of them 10 ways, but some are going to be better than others.”

Just as a quick example she says, “Someone waiting in a bus shelter will see a sign there, but if you’re in traffic, you might not notice a sign on a bus going by.”

You have to think about not only where you’ll get their attention, but also, where can they potentially take action?

Don’t do too much

One mistake marketers make, she says, “Is trying to do too much and cover the waterfront, be on every social network. That’s not productive because you spread yourself too thinly. Find the right places to connect with your customers.”

Even then, you have to think about what is appropriate for each social network. Photos of a company bowling team might work well on Facebook, but not on LinkedIn.

On a website your customers frequent, you might choose to have a pop up offer a newsletter if it offers a gateway to content they are interested in, she suggests.

“At the same time,” she warns, “You don’t want to jump in front of them if it’s not relevant to them. Find those opportunities where it is appropriate to get in front of them and they can make mental connections as to why you are there.”

Merge online and offline efforts

One thing that is particularly important – which she will discuss in more detail and with examples at the Digital Summit, is the need to merge offline and online marketing efforts.

“You have to be careful not to seem creepy,” she says, “such as when you download a brochure and the next thing you know your phone is ringing.”

Instead, she says, “If someone is engaged on a website, take it further. Can we give you something in hard copy? An invitation to an event we’re hosting? A workshop? Those are great for the more complex sale.”

For retail, offer a coupon, get them in the store. “For someone without a history with the brand, getting them to come in is a big deal.”

It’s a time-consuming process, but it’s not the kind of thing you can do and say you’re done, she notes.

A continuum, not set it and forget it

“It’s a continuum. The market changes. There are new opportunities for connecting with your customers. You need to be more nimble than ever.”

Once upon a time companies could do an annual marketing plan and that was it. “Now you have to do it every month,” she says. “People who go through the set it and forget it process end up spending more money than they need to by not optimizing their program.”

Finally, Sargent says, “Make sure you know how your digital marketing affects your overall corporate goals. It’s not about having 10,000 leads, it’s about having leads that bring you customers to help you grow over time.”

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