As a computer engineer, programmer, and networking engineer, I have seen my share of technical disasters since I first got involved with computer in, um, 1984. I got my first computer, a Timex Sinclair, in '84 and quickly learned the BASIC programming language.
Early computers were very fragile and their storage ability even more so. You never knew if your program would work the next time you tried to load it after saving it to a tape drive. Early floppy disks were also fragile and could easily be scrambled by small magnets or accidentally folded if they got caught in a book bag.
Although we don't use those older storage methods any more, the portable 1 terra bite drives we conveniently carry around now are still fragile, and I've had a few fail on me during my travels.
Computers can be equally finicky. One of my laptop computers failed during a trade show in 2003 and affected the whole show. This was not a good sign for a web programming company back then.
As a Cisco network engineer, I've also had way too many experiences of computer network failures. They were all mission critical and disrupted business.
All these technical troubles have taught me to always be prepared. If I need a laptop for a presentation, I bring 2 of them with copies of everything. If I bring a portable hard drive, I also bring a second, identical copy. If I only need a thumb drive in my pocket with my presentation, I will bring a least 3 more thumb drive copies tucked away in my computer back, suitcase, and camera bag. Oh, and when I'm giving a webinar I will email copies of the presentation to the moderator to make sure the slides won't get cut off if my connection to the call gets dropped.
Perhaps all this preparation is a little overboard, but what if you were paying me to provide some service, would you be satisfied if technical difficulties interrupted what you were paying me to do?
All this preparation is to prevent a single point of technology failure. I find it interesting how parallel the world of marketing parallels the technical issues I've explained above.
My first experience with single points of advertising failure occurred a few years ago when a client of mine was exclusively advertising with Google AdWords. They were spending a lot of money every month and were enjoying high sales. But that all changed one day when Google changed how AdWords worked and their ads needed to be rebuild to comply with the new, more difficult usage rules.
They lost a lot of money for a few months as their sales suddenly stopped. At the time they didn't care about search engine optimization or ranking. AdWords was working so well that they stopped advertising in all traditional media. They eventually got their AdWords fixed, but they almost went out of business waiting for sales to pick back up again.
Relying on AdWords as your only form of advertising seemed to make sense at the time, but none of us thought that Google would change the rules like they did. Google changes the rules all the time now, which is why internet marketing is more of an organic process than anything else now.
I hadn't realized it until recently, but that early experience with AdWords and those technology failures have guided my marketing efforts to always set up marketing efforts in pairs. As I make recommendations to jewelers I first look at their customer profile and then figure out what might be most appropriate for them.
Examples of how I previously paired marketing efforts:
Pairing Facebook and Twitter - Be social on Facebook but send out even more status updates on twitter. You have to tweet and then pay attention to people replying to you on Twitter.
Pairing Facebook and Pinterest - Pin a few hundred images on a variety of wedding related topics to multiple boards on Pinterest, and use Facebook to occasionally mention those topics in addition to the normal stuff you post about.
Pairing Facebook and Instagram - Instagram is a good way to build engagement with customers because you can show them what you are working on and get their opinions. Facebook then becomes another forum to carry on the conversation.
Pairing direct mail with email - You could segment your list and send specific direct mail to a few customers at a time, followed up with emails to reinforce the direct mail.
Pairing email with direct mail - This is a different method than the one above. With this method you would send an email to your customers first and ask them which direct mail piece they would prefer to receive. A little creativity here can make this an exciting combination that builds business with existing customers who appreciate you.
Newspapers and email - Always try to advertise in local town newspapers rather than the county or regional newspapers. Send an email to your targeted email marketing list as a follow up to each newspaper ad. Only send the email to people who would be interested in that week's special offer.
Newspaper and direct mail - This combination seems outdated, but truthfully many jewelers are still using both of these methods because they seem to work at certain times of the year.
Google AdWords and blog writing - AdWords is good for bringing immediate customers to your website, but the costs are high. The benefit of AdWords goes away as soon as you stop paying for it. Blog writing is a form of website content building which is needed for you to build your organic traffic over time. More organic traffic means you can wean yourself off AdWords.
Blogging and email - Give your blog readers the ability to subscribe to your email list so you can send them your latest blog as an email.
Blogging and social media - Every blog you post to your website should be shared to at least one social network.
Google+ is absent from that list above only because jewelers haven't widely adopted it yet.
Another point of note is that the use of each of these combinations of marketing methods has cost of time, labor, and media buys. Everyone's costs are different and you will have to apply your own judgment for how you pair marketing efforts for your needs.
Never send the same message to both marketing channels because people respond to each channel differently. You will have to tweak your message to appeal to each channel. This tweaking includes different images, headlines, and ad copy that would still convey the same marketing message.
The bottom line of today's Nugget is the hope that you understand that the old expression that says "never put all your eggs in one basket" also applies to your marketing. If you're rely on one channel from marketing then you are setting yourself up for failure if that channel changes, or you have a string of bad ads.
Invest in multiple methods of marketing.