Online Marketing in the Third Dimension: Delivering Your Message Over Time

Marketing Third


Advertising has been a major part of business endeavors for centuries. It started hand-drawn flyers in general stores and saloons, and today, its online presence is astounding. Nowadays, three dimensional marketing is taking the world by storm, and here’s how you can leverage it.


The Days Before Online Marketing

For most people today, the very first advertising they can remember is TV or radio ads. This was long before the internet was in everyone’s household, and marketers knew that the best way to reach people – other than newspapers, magazines, and billboards – was to show them products and services during their favorite programs. It worked well, but the limitations of the media meant that advertisers couldn’t really pick and choose the best ways to deliver ads to viewers.


They had access to 15- or 30-second time slots, or “commercials,” that would be shown at regular intervals throughout programs. These slots were (and still are) incredibly expensive, so in order to really maximize their marketing dollars, marketers made certain that ads generated some sort of emotional response in viewers or listeners. Sometimes the ad was shocking, sometimes it was hilarious, and sometimes it made no sense – whatever the marketers believed would leave a lasting impression.


What are the First Two Dimensions?

When looking at marketing as if it were a two-dimensional object, the two dimensions represent reach and frequency. These were the two most important factors in a successful marketing campaign. Their entire goal was to reach as many people as possible as often as possible in order to “burn” the brand’s image into viewers’ or listeners’ minds. One can’t work without the other, either.


If the ad showed 10 times a day but was only played during late-night television when everyone was already in bed, then it certainly had the frequency, but it didn’t have the reach. On the other hand, if viewers saw the ad right in the middle of the most popular primetime sitcom, but they only saw it once and never again after that, the ad has the reach, but it doesn’t have frequency. As a result, marketers chose to stick to a strategy they still use today – they repeat the exact same message across all channels, in every location, and at any time.


How Digital Marketing Changed Everything

With the introduction of the internet, the entire marketing landscape started to change. Thanks to cookies and non-identifiable information collected from the billions and billions of people who surf the web, it is now possible to deliver very specific ads to very specific groups of people with a strategy known as targeted marketing. Better yet, marketers can now retarget people who have already purchased from them with another specific advertisement that is tailored specifically to their history with the brand.


This gave marketers more power than they had ever had before, and thanks to that power, frequency is no longer as important as it once was. Instead, today’s marketing campaigns tend to focus on marketing in the third dimension. Marketers no longer have to “burn” the images of their brands into customers’ minds. Instead, they can make their messages more meaningful to several individual segments and deliver them in the third dimension.


What is the Third Dimension?

The third dimension of marketing is time, and for most companies who leverage it appropriately, it is far more effective than sheer frequency. You can deliver your marketing messages to your customers and leads over time in several different ways, too. Drip marketing is an older but still effective way to do it; just create a lead magnet, get people to sign up for your email list, and send them messages. You can also tag individual people with cookies in their web browsers to learn more about their behavior before, during, and after they interact with your ads or website. Once you have cookies in place, you can deliver incredibly personalized messages to individual users.


Third dimension marketing often uses the AIDA process, as well. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action, and it’s a good outline to follow.


  • Attention: Get the lead’s attention with a freebie – a free trial or e-book – in exchange for the lead’s email address.
  • Interest: Use the lead’s email address to send targeted and timed emails designed to get him or her interested in your product or service.
  • Desire: After generating some interest, start really building desire. Show the lead what other customers are saying and keep showing them the value your product or service would bring to the table for the money.
  • Action: You can get your leads to take action in several ways, but scarcity seems to be the best bet. “Limited supply! Act now!” and “Limited time offer for today only!” are fantastic ways to get those conversions.


How Marketing in the Third Dimension Works

To understand how marketing in the third dimension really works, it may help to think of how a used car salesman becomes successful. He doesn’t immediately bombard someone on the lot with the key to a random car because he wants to sell it. Rather, he takes his time and gets to know the customer and his or her needs, and he understands that most people won’t make up their mind about a car purchase in five minutes. They need time.  He may ask the customer how many children she has, what sort of features are important, how much fuel mileage she wants to get, what she wants to spend, and more. Chances are good the customer will go home and think it through.


Because the used car salesman knows the customer will think it through, he hands her a card and asks her to call him with any questions, and he may even ask to call her later to see if she’s had time to decide. He’ll ask her if she wants to take a car that meets her needs for a test drive. He’ll negotiate the price with her. These things take time that traditional two-dimensional advertising just can’t offer, and for the most part, digital marketing works the same way.


Marketing in the third dimension might seem complicated, but to summarize, it’s all about foregoing frequency in advertising and instead making sure you are sending the right messages to your leads and customers throughout the entire sales lifecycle. The third dimension is time, and with a little bit of know-how, you can leverage it to your advantage.


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