For the last several weeks, this column has been devoted to helping you build your marketing plan for 2019.

We’ve covered:
• Defining success/big picture vision.
• Creating personas to understand your target audiences better.
• Differentiating your business, products and services.
• Building a message hierarchy.

This week, I’d like to talk about the next step in your planning. Now that you know why you’re making the effort, who you are talking to, why they should care, and what you’re going to say to them, the next question is “where?” Where are you going to connect with your target audiences to begin to build a relationship?
 
As you begin to think about the right locations for your message, be mindful to think in multiple dimensions. It’s a rare audience that only lives in a 3D world, an analog world or a digital one. Most of us live in all three, and the age-old rule of thumb of having a mix of media is still as valid today as it was back in the heyday of TV.
 
Marketers make a few common mistakes when it comes to selecting channels. The first one is that they gravitate to channels that they personally prefer. When you really understand who you are trying to reach and stay very focused on them, this is a relatively easy mistake to sidestep.
 
The second common mistake is to try to cover too much ground with too little time or money. It’s tempting to spread your marketing efforts, so you are a mile wide and an inch deep because there are so many good choices out there. But you have to invest enough effort that your audience not only notices you (typically eight to 13 exposures to your message) but gets past the “you caught my eye” stage and to the “I want to learn more” stage. The truth is, I don’t care how big of an organization you are, your budget will never stretch as far as you’d like it to go.
 
You are far better off to reduce the quantity and improve the frequency or dominance in fewer channels. It’s a fine line to walk, but most businesses err on the wrong side of this equation. When in doubt, cut back the number of channels and double down on the best of the smaller set.
 
The third and probably most common mistake made today is that brands decide to only invest in one of the dimensions, typically digital. For a small handful of businesses, this may be the right choice. But for most, that’s a costly mistake. 

There’s no doubt that you can get ads up faster and more cost-effectively if you only do digital. But it’s the equivalent of deciding to only text your friends, so you ignore their calls and refuse to meet them for dinner.

We have to remember that people are pretty adept at tuning out marketing messages. Given how many we are exposed to on a daily basis, we’d never get anything done if every one of them actually got our attention.
 
One of the ways to break through to the conscious level of your consumer is to come at them from different directions. Sending your prospect a mix of traditional mail, some digital display ads, and then heading to their booth at the industry’s biggest trade show is far more effective than just serving up ads as part of a retargeting campaign and doing nothing else.
 
As you start to get more tactical in building out your plan, be sure that you are mindful of having a significant presence in a few highly targeted channels that span your prospect’s regular activities. Don’t let your own biases, hunger to be everywhere, or your singular focus hamper your efforts.