Marketing in Unfamiliar Markets

So a marketer for years, my main focus has always been on the good old Chicagoland area.  Recently, I welcomed a client which hosts events nationwide; in areas I’ve never even visited.

Most of the events were repeats so there was a trail of what made up the primary demo – emails, zip codes, income and how attendees heard about the event; but what about new events in entirely new markets?

Understanding what marketing mediums have worked in other markets for similar events, I approached the new area with the same strategy basics, however, finding the most value in each new outlet was challenging.  My first goal was direct mail and mass distribution magazines, so I searched all direct magazine/mail suppliers in the area.  After receiving media kits from several companies, I sifted through the marketing publications looking for similar businesses.  Then I picked up the phone and called the businesses one by one to ask for opinions.  It was a very long day.

Business owner after business owner rated the publication I was calling about and told me how they rated the return. They also referred me to other sources and even introduced me to other companies in the area that might make good media partners for the event.

Marketing By Edan Gelt
Marketing By Edan Gelt

It was a tedious process, but outside of living in the area, this was the best approach to understand what publications reached my demographic.  I also learned a lot about the demographic.  For most businesses, a trade area really isn’t a circle but instead, an amoeba.

From my calls to the businesses, I learned more about exactly what zips to hit so I could create a valuable digital and mail campaign.  Instead of going in blind, I was educated and confident before writing recommending a media plan.

The event campaign was a success and the client was able to get more than 1 million impressions for a substantially lower CPM than budgeted. We created valuable long-term partnerships for the event and created a viable and sustainable campaign.

Even in the US, the culture in each market varies and what works in one state or even city, may not work in the other.  My advice, roll up your sleeves and start making calls – understand where you’re going and how to make a splash.

By:  Edan Gelt, MBA, CMD

With more than 20 years of diverse marketing experience, including more than a decade at Harlem Irving, Edan Gelt has an extensive capability in diverse marketing mediums across various industries, offering insight on marketing strategy, research, public relations, advertising, special events, social media, direct marketing, branding and more.

Edan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Elmhurst College and an Executive MBA degree from the University of Illinois.

For more information visit www.edangelt.com,

or https://www.linkedin.com/in/edan-joy-gelt/

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