Marketing Myth: Don’t Get Stuck on a Tactic

Genius! Marketing is a Good Marketing Mix

Many conversations I have with companies considering doing some marketing revolve around tactical elements of marketing communications. Or more simply, marketing tactics. Tactics are the specific actionable element of marketing: direct mail, advertising, email, etc. 

Companies are often caught up by a specific tactic. For instance, they decide that the latest thing must be their thing. Or they will see a competitor doing something and determine they must implement that tactic as well. Getting fixated on a tactic can be very dangerous. 

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Take Social Media as an example. Since Facebook started to attract millions of users, companies have been mesmerized by Social Media. The appeal is significant. First of all, it is “free”. Second, anyone can do Social Media. Best of all, there is no barrier to entry. Meaning it is easy to get started: consider the barrier to entry for social media versus the barrier to entry for sending direct mail. 

To send a direct mail piece, you must: 

  • Determine content of direct mail.
  • Find a mailing list of people or companies that might be interested.
  • Print the mailer (and possibly) insert into envelope.
  • Apply postage.
  • Send mailer.

That’s a lot of work.

Compare that with Social Media: 

  • Sign up for an account.
  • Upload your logo.
  • Presto! You’re using Social Media for your business. Endless numbers of people can now see your page, profile or posts.
     :-\

Getting Stuck on Marketing Tactics

Here’s a real-life example that isn’t about Social Media (because you can take about 30 seconds to find a company on Facebook that has two posts and one photo…from 2010 – maybe it’s your own). This example is about an earlier marketing “gold rush”. 

Genius! Marketing How to Brand, Target and Market like a Genius! Stephen L. Eckert

Learn more about marketing budgeting and more in the Genius! Marketing book!

Back in the days of Internet 1.0, the owner of a distribution company caught the vision of Internet 2.0. Unfortunately, it wasn’t invented yet. He spent tens of thousands of dollars developing a website that took orders and promised immediate (via FedEx) delivery of large industrial equipment. The site worked because he made it work. It even had “videos” (this is in the day of modems, mind you), or rather multi-image sequences to show product features. Pretty cool. 

Too bad it was a total failure. In retrospect, Amazon took ten more years to convince people to buy a book online… why did an industrial specialty distributor think contractors would buy his products that way? He thought that because he became so infatuated with the tactic of marketing via the web that he forgot one critical fact: his customers weren’t ready to buy that way. It turned out he was about 15 years ahead of the curve. I’d call that bleeding edge. It significantly impacted his company’s profitability. His focus got off the real goal: selling product and onto a marketing tactic. 

Whatever the specific tactic is, it is a real problem for a single tactic to be the focus of your marketing. 

Don’t fall for this myth of marketing: we can do one thing! Make sure your marketing is a solid mix of tactics that is thoughtfully planned and appropriate for your target market.

Need help choosing your marketing tactics? Contact us! More a do-it-yourself marketer? Sign up for our marketing blog email and buy Genius! Marketing book.

SLEckert

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Genius! Marketing: The Book!

Genius! Marketing

How to Brand, Target and Market Like a Genius!

by Stephen L. Eckert
Genius! Marketing How to Brand, Target and Market like a Genius! Stephen L. Eckert

Learn more about marketing planning and more in the Genius! Marketing book!

Do You Want to Be a Marketing Genius?

Have a great marketing idea? What if instead, you had a great marketing process? Developing a marketing process that integrates with sales is the way to grow sales. And isn’t growing sales the whole point of marketing?

In Genius! Marketing you’ll learn how to build a marketing machine that consistently produces leads and supports sales. You’ll learn how to:

  • Assess the sales process
  • Determine and communicate the organizational brand
  • Write your value proposition and sales messages
  • Develop a realistic budget for marketing
  • Create the one thing you must do to have ongoing success
  • Market from an action-based system

Plus, you’ll learn what to do with all those great marketing ideas you (and others) have for your business.

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Genius! Marketing is based on a system that has helped companies successfully market their products and services for over 20 years. This field-tested process will change the way you think about, and more importantly, how you plan and execute marketing. Genius! Marketing is for anyone who is ready to get off the marketing merry-go-round of chasing ideas and the latest marketing trends and develop an effective marketing system.

Learn more or buy now on AmazonAvailable at amazon

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Google Adding More Marketing Tools

Google Marketing Platform Display and Video 360 Search Ads 360 Analytics 360 Data Studio Optimize 360 Surveys 360 Tag Manager 360 You may have heard that Google Adwords is becoming Google Ads. Not ground shaking right? More than a rebrand, it looks like the next step in Google’s online marketing platform. In addition to the rebrand, Google is improving integration between Ads and Analytics, so advertisers can better understand the impact of ads on their web traffic and visitor’s behaviors on websites.

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Google is also combining Doubleclick for Publishers and Doubleclick Ad Exchange into one platform: Google Ad Manager. The plan is to help content producers have more control over their sites and ad streams.

Google is also rolling in other marketing products – video ads and display ads – to round out the offering.

My hope is it will be easier for organizations to understand and manage the various products. Suffice to say, Google’s hope is that you will buy more ads.

Here are a couple articles for further reading on the subject:

New Google Ad Brands, and Google Marketing Platform.

If you need help with your digital marketing or online advertising, contact us.

SLEckert

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Marketing Not Seen as Career

Marketing is not seen as a highly sought after career by students according to a Marketing Week/Unidays study

Marketing is fun!According to a Marketing Week study  only 3% of students aged 18 – 24 years said that marketing offered the best career opportunity. Medicine led the responses with 16%, followed by management (12%) and engineering (11%). This may be because only 1% of survey respondents said marketing is mentioned in school ‘a lot’, while 51% said that marketing was ‘never’ or ‘hardly ever’ mentioned in school.

Still, the study shows that marketing must have some appeal… 57% of respondents said they would consider a career in marketing. Perhaps students know its a whole lot of fun!

See the full report by Marketing Week/Unidays

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Survey Reality Check

What are you asking in your customer service survey?

They say the NFL is a copycat league. Fashion is a copycat culture. Even businesses tend to copy what other successful companies do. So maybe it’s just human nature. Such is the way with customer surveys. There seems to be only two things on marketers’ minds these days:

  • “How likely are you to recommend us?” and
  • “How likely are you to refer us to a friend (or associate)?”

These are good questions. But why is everyone asking that same question?

Are You on the Right Track?

A marketing guru friend of mine said that ‘willingness to refer’ is the most meaningful question in market research because it captures how a customer really feels about the product, brand or company. He compared it to the political question “Do you think the country is on the right track?” That’s a good question because it reflects how the respondent feels overall about the country without getting into the weeds. It’s like an amalgamation of all the different variables into one overall view. The “refer” question is supposed to do the same thing. If you are willing to refer a company or product, it means you have an overall very high trust and probably a great experience with the company or product.

My guru friend told me that about a dozen years ago. I guess his wisdom spread, because now it seems to be the only question marketers can ask.

“Everybody Gives Me a Ten”

I recently purchased a new smartphone and had to return to the store to get a few questions answered. In between these two visits, I received a survey. I decided to take the survey because the young man who helped me was excellent. For working at one of the big, bad cell carrier corporate stores, he was surprisingly helpful (yes, surprisingly… the cell store is just short of the DMV when it comes to long waits and poor service). I wanted to take the survey specifically to give good marks to the young man who did such a great job for me.

The survey started with the question: “How likely are you to refer (company)?” I answered zero. I am not likely to refer the company. There are several reasons:

  1. Although Andrew was very helpful, I’ve had enough less than satisfying experiences with the company that I wouldn’t endorse them to a friend or associate.
  2. I only refer companies that I KNOW are reliable and trustworthy all the time. I don’t have that confidence with the cell company.

I went on in the survey to respond positively about the experience and the salesperson. In fact, I took the time to explain that the salesperson did a great job, but I wasn’t willing to refer because of past bad experiences.

When I went to the store the second time, I asked if the same person was there who helped me the first visit. He was. He helped me, and I told him I took the survey.

He responded, “Yeah, my boss called me in to review it. It’s the first time I haven’t gotten a 10 on the likely to refer.”

He went on to say that the other comments I made about his service were appreciated and his boss was okay with it. However, the “willingness to refer” question is the one that the company uses in evaluating the associates. And I was the first person who didn’t give him a 10.

The lesson: that question is useless (no one should get a ’10’ on every survey…no one), it isn’t actionable data.

Why Not Ask Things That Matter to Customers?

You as a marketer may want to know the overall feeling of the customer and be tempted to ask the “refer” question. Microsoft did when Powerpoint asked me in a pop-up “How likely are you to recommend Powerpoint to a friend or colleague?” Really? I answered “1 – not likely at all.”

In what circumstances am I going to recommend Powerpoint? What question is a friend going to ask that makes me think “You know what, I should recommend Powerpoint!” Who doesn’t know about Powerpoint? Does my answering this question really give Microsoft data that helps them better understand how to serve their customers?

How about asking “What is one suggestion that would make your use of Powerpoint better/easier/more complete?” OR “What is the most frustrating thing about Powerpoint that we could improve?” Those (or countless other) questions could inform a product improvement.

Don’t Copycat… Find Out What Your Customers Really Think

Market research and customer satisfaction surveys can yield excellent data. Ask questions that matter… don’t just copy what others do. Look at what competitors or market leaders are doing, but think about what really matters to your customers. If you only had one question to ask a customer, would it really be “How likely are you to refer us?”

Consider a question about better functionality. Or a question that asks for a complaint. Maybe a question that asks if they’d buy again from your company. The question for your company should be your own. Don’t copycat.

Thank you for reading this blog… How likely are you to recommend it? 🙂

If you’d like to discuss your market research plans, contact us.

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The One Thing

marketing tip, the one thingI am often asked, “What’s the one thing I should be doing to market my business?” My response is that there is no “one thing” in marketing.

Typically, this comes from business owners who are rightly looking to maximize their return on marketing investment, but are wrongly looking for a panacea. The “one thing” they seek is an idea into which they can put a dollar and get a marketing return of thousands… or more.

Of course that “one thing” doesn’t exist. Over the last couple years, Social Media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) were popular “one things”. They are important, but alone, they will not solve the marketing puzzle. However, this quest by business owners and entrepreneurs isn’t squelched that easily. So, here is truly, truly the “one thing” every business should do: Plan.

Yes, Really… A Marketing Plan

I know, I know… it’s not cool. It’s not hip. The kids aren’t doing it in London. However, a serious business will have a marketing plan. It can be one page, but you need a plan. That is the one thing that will:

Control Costs –By planning your marketing year, just like you would other areas of your business, you avoid the one off purchases. For example, when you decide to go to a trade show or event a week before it opens. That leads to rushed purchases at the tactical level…which can run afoul of your budget. The plan also can be the beginning of a real, accurate marketing budget for the year (ask me how).

Create Consistency – The biggest issue I see with the marketing of most businesses is a lack of consistency. A plan makes you go in market consistently. Whether advertising, email, direct mail, selling… only a plan and a schedule for that plan keeps a business focused on delivering the value proposition consistently.

Lead to Understanding – The power of planning is doing. I have worked with many businesses that did not understand how powerful marketing is at leading to sales (I know…seems odd). When you work a marketing plan for a year, or even a few months, you suddenly see results… wow! like magic! You start to get results and that helps build understanding of what messages and offers bring in leads, prospects, and sales. That initial plan, well executed, uncovers new ideas, bigger plans, and better results.

The One Thing

So, yes, the one thing is to plan. If you need help developing a simple marketing plan and implementing it consistently across your organization, Contact us.

Check back regularly for the latest Marketing Tip, or email us to be emailed the tips. Or if you’re on Twitter, follow us to get the tips @StephenLEckert.


This is a republish of this blog (originally published 1/1/13). A new year, same answer… have a plan.
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Some of the Top YouTube Ads Last Month

Check out these youtube ads that were rated most popular on YouTube in October. Read the whole list on Marketing Week.

Google Pixel 2: A New Phone and Creative

Apple Watch and Roll

Lancome Secret Passage

Nintendo Musical Production

 

Very creative, very visual, no doubt why they were so popular and highly rated. Thinking about an online (or broadcast) video? Contact us.

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Content Marketing: When is Too Much?

Always love the Marketoonist, who can capture complex issues into a single cartoonimage. Click here to see his take on Content Marketing – several comics and a short blog that sites new research about content. His point is well taken – brands can be so taken with providing content that it ends up:

  • Being more content than the prospect (or customer) can consume;
  • Publish content that is not relevant or just plain junk;
  • Can open up the consumer to ideas that lead away from the sale, or
  • Lose focus on the main thing (providing the customer with what they need/want).

That is the part that is often missed. Yes, in the Information Age content is king. Content is critical to engage and draw prospects into the sales funnel. However, selling is fundamentally changing… because buying is fundamentally changing.

Buyers Choice

Not only does the consumer want what they want when they want it (and how they want it). They want to receive information about their proposed purchase as they need it. So marketers and brands need to provide content that engages, educates and draws the buyer closer to the sale. However, the buyer’s steps to the purchase may be very different than what the selling organization considers the steps in the sales funnel.

Price First Please

Price may not be the deciding factor in a purchase. Still it is not uncommon for that to be the first question (or click) about a potential purchase. Knowing the pricing up front may be a sign of budget concerns (“If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it…”), but it could also be a way of determining value. If the buyer knows the price up front (and from multiple vendors), it is easier to determine value as more is learned about the product.

Traditional selling techniques say marketers must use value to move the prospect closer to the sale. Uncover pain, show how the product solves the pain, show how good it feels to have the pain gone… and POOF!, price no longer matters.

Intelligent, informed buyers are simply reverse engineering that process – price is the bar, now the seller is required to build value to surpass that bar.

Providing Relevant Content

So here are a few tips when considering a Content Marketing strategy:

  • Find out what content is helpful and when it is needed – use research and data to understand what information is helpful to the buyer at each step of the buying process;
  • Create content that is meaningful to the buyer at each step – the first goal is to create content that answers the number one question or objection at each step of the process:
  • Make content readily available so the prospect can find it when they need/want it – that may mean repackaging content in varying forms and using various media to deliver messages;
  • Don’t assume inbound marketing is going to flow like a slide – prospects will jump on and off the sales process… because it is their buying process;

And finally: content must be relevant; no content for the sake of having content! Unlike more cowbell, you can have too much content!

Need help developing your content marketing plan? Contact us for a consultation.

SLEckert

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Using Various Video Strategies

video marketingGreat article published in Marketing Week about the various forms of video available to marketers: from long form story telling to Snapchat to live video streaming. The tools are there, but is your strategy? Read the article, and contact us if you need help determining how best to use video to promote your brand or product.

SLEckert

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TV Ads Work

A Study that Reinforces What You Know… Opinion About Media “Rubs Off” on Brands with Advertisements During that Media

A recent study published by Thinkbox TV, a British firm that promotes commercial programming, shows that brands that sponsor TV programs create an affinity with the people who watch those programs. That may not seem all that incredible to read, but a tv advertisementsgood reminder that even in the age of “all things digital”, it is still good content that lets advertisers “borrow interest”.  Even more in the age of binge-watching. Some of the findings from the report:

  • the strong positive affinity viewers have with favorite programming “rubs off” on advertisers and sponsors,
  • program viewers are far more likely to recommend a sponsoring brand than those who do not associate a brand with a particular program,
  • advertising on programming accelerates how quickly brand awareness is achieved… especially for new brands.

The report suggests that matching brand personality and program personality are key to getting the best results from ads and sponsorships. Again, that is more likely reinforcing your thinking rather than making a light bulb go off for the first time.

How to Find the Right Programming

The harder part is finding the right media on which to place your ads. As the study suggests, media must connect with your target audience and the ideas that matter to them. Just putting an ad on any program, or worse, on a program that is contrary to your brand’s positioning and attributes, may not help your awareness, or sales. (We’re assuming smaller brands which cannot blanket the media world with their message.)

Choosing the right media can be outsourced to a professional (contact me!), and programmatic advertising is available with the promise to deliver exactly the right audience… but there are issues with programmatic. Take the time to consider the media that is proposed to you. Ask “Who watches/listens/reads it… and why?”

Where to Sponsor Programming

The second challenge is deciding where to place the ads. With the disruption of media between broadcast, cable, online viewing, subscription services like Hulu, digital radio, etc., it becomes much more difficult than ever to place advertising.

Testing the market is the best way to find out how your ads deliver – both content/creative and placement. For smaller advertisers this may seem daunting, but the bottomline is the ultimate result… does any ad program you run get tangible results (i.e. sales). By running limited ad buys with specific calls to action/offers to different response queues (different emails, web pages, even phone numbers), even a small advertiser can test variables of placement, creative and response channel.

If you want to discuss how to develop your media into a more targeted and tracked campaign, contact me. We can discuss your situation and develop a workable plan.

SLEckert

 

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