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Marketing is effective when it attracts the specific type of customer that you want, that can afford to buy from you. 
Let me break this down.

Effective Marketing=

+attracting customers to you
+attracting customers that you want
+attracting customers that can afford to buy from you

So, in order to market effectively, you must first know who are the specific customers that you would like to attract!
What are the names of some specific customers you would like?
Are they businesses (b2b) or consumers (b2c)?
What does their income look like?
Do they share a common culture, ethnicity, language (slang) and style?
Where do your customers work, go to school, go anywhere on a regular basis?
Are the customers you are seeking already buying from your competitor, and why?
Are the customers you are seeking limited to a geographic area?

Then you discover what it would take to attract those customers to you. 
What are the wants and needs of the customers that I am seeking – even if I do not do all of those things?
Who can I partner with, that serves the same customers that I am seeking, but does not compete with me?
What do I do better than my competitors to serve my customers?
How can I share with the customers I want how I serve my customers better?

Now let’s look at some types of marketing:

1> Networking and follow-up
2> Public Speaking/Lectures
3> Publishing and Content Writing
4> Online Advertising
5> Print Advertising

This list is in order of general effectiveness in my eyes. 
Now, all marketing types can be done well, when they are approached with a definitive end goal in mind. 
Anything that brings you specifically, or a sales/marketing rep out into the world to meet people and build relationships – this tends to be the most effective marketing of all. But you have to be strategic on who you are getting out to meet, how you will follow-up, and how you can effectively communicate to those people that you can solve their need best. You must have a system to track the many different networking avenues, and then rule out the ones that are not going to bring you to the people that you most want to meet. Track all the people you have met in CRM software, or at least an organized address book with timed reminders for follow-up.

Publishing and writing should show that your company is an expert in your field, and even a thought leader that is striking new territory. If it matches your brand, do not be afraid to take an “industry standard” and complete argue in your writing for a different direction. Then use the writing as a funnel to a contact channel, such as your website or phone line. 

Online and print advertisements can be effective simply as a numbers game. When you get your content in front of enough people, eventually you will reach someone that wants to buy from you. Wherever possible, refine the online audience that you are marketing to. Post within forums, groups and blogs that cater specifically to your customer type and location. When posting coupons, don;’t use the same coupons in more than one publication. Use one coupon type in each, with tight deadlines so that you can best track their effectiveness. Beware of any discounts, which can devalue the worth of your product or service, and make you look desperate.

Effective marketing is measurable. How many sales did this marketing generate? How many new contacts? How many new email subscribers? How many more people have contacted me to speak at their events or write for their paper? Set your marketing campaigns with an end goal, and an end time so you can measure effectiveness and make tweaks. 

I hope this helps you market better with your time and money.
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