Winnipeg businesses seem to be extremely confused in the use of media lately.
Yesterday I was driving down Marion Street and saw an ad for the Manitoba division of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. The billboard has some guy on it next to a globe with the words "Dare to Compete.ca" in huge letters. Now the only reason I knew it was the CME was because I have met with the association recently regarding their marketing direction, and am familiar with their new website and branding. However, to the common person driving past this sign, it would be very difficult to determine that it is an ad for CME. Why? Because all text about the CME is in very small print, where the focus is on the website address.
Here in lies the confusion.
It seems that the majority of businesses in Winnipeg, and other markets in general, are now using their radio, outdoor and print ads to drive people to their websites. This is not a good use of a company's precious marketing dollars.
If a company feels the best chance they have to capture new business is to get consumers to their website to learn more about them and their services, than why not invest in the actual form of marketing that specifically serves this purpose - Search Marketing.
Search marketing or search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of making a website directly relevant to the terms a company wants their brand associated with. For example, if I sell pool tables in Winnipeg, than I'd want to list high on the search engines when someone types in "pool tables Winnipeg." SEO investment ensures that you are placing your company's website in a position of high visibility to consumers actively in the market for your products and services.
The Winnipeg business community are too conditioned to stop using traditional media, even when they see that the best opportunity for them to capture new business is through their website. And I know this because every radio ad you hear now ends with a company's web address; every print and outdoor ad has their website address as a prominent component of the ad.
Winnipeggers, stop wasting your money! If you feel you the internet provides your business the greatest opportunity for growth, than invest in an SEO campaign that will push your website into a position of high visibility on the search engines. Use your radio ads to expand your brand through jingles or to highlight sales events. Use your billboards and print to shout the name of your company and something unique about your business, but whatever you do, quit spending copious amounts of money on old media to push new media.
It's your turn Winnipeg! Embrace the sales that exists for your brand on page one of Google.