Some beliefs I have...
Updated: May 4, 2022
Whether you're a founder, a business owner, a CEO, a marketing director, or even an agency owner... whatever your role, I have some thoughts for you to ponder before deciding if I'm the right partner for you.
In no particular order:
Research is vital to marketing effectiveness. You are not your audience and ensuring that you don't fall into the echo-chamber of your own business where 'sample of one' stories continue to drive decision making, you should always start with admitting you 'don't know' the answer to many key business questions, and go to the market to ask. About your products, prices, executions, your brand... ask about them, their needs, motivations, wants and current behaviour. Too many people are either scared of the answers, or don't know what questions to ask - and both are a big problem.
Rather than asking yourself the question of how to get people to do what you want them to, ask them why they're not: focus on removing the barriers that stand in their way (mental and physical). Create the path of least resistance.
People are irrational, emotional, and rarely make informed decisions regardless of how much information they're given. It doesn't matter how important you think your information is, we just don't have the capacity to take in everything every day.
If you don't have a documented strategy that definitively outlines where you are, where you're going and how you're going to get there, then you're very likely to burn lots of cash and resource executing 'fun', but pointless, initiatives that deliver nothing that the bean-counters care about. Remember, having a strategy isn't just about defining what you're going to do... it's about putting parameters around what you're not going to do.
You're absolutely wasting your time if all your marketing efforts aren't tightly aligned with key business and marketing objectives. Why bother taking anything to market if it doesn't directly impact the business in tangible ways? If it doesn't make money?
FYI, digital is not a strategy. It's another channel that may or may not provide the best way to reach your audience.
The fantasy of loyalty belongs in dated text-books. Growth is about more customers, not unrealistic repetitive behaviour. The reality is that in almost every category looked at, people are 'loyal' to a repetoire of brands and share their spending. The core task of delivering growth is therefore in delivering more customers, not getting current customers to buy more.
The bigger your brand, the bigger your brand will continue to be. You will see greater penetration of new audiences and slightly more repetitive buyer than your competitors if you have greater market share.
More objectives does not equal more effectiveness. Most businesses are likely resource light and limited - strategy is as much about prioritisation as it is focus. I often find it worthwhile asking yourself that if you only had $100, what would you spend it on? Spend $1 on 100 things, or spend $50 on two things?
Marketing isn't just about promotions. And it's most certainly not a colouring in department. It's your vehicle for growth and your strategic resource to also address pricing, distribution and product. A proper marketer will cover all of this, rather than just deliver and manage campaigns.
Creativity has been proven to be the second most important factor for marketing effectiveness. Execution needs to be less about doing something just to get it done, and more about innovating, imagining... and using people that are actually trained to be creative. Proper copywriters, art directors, creative directors. Just because there's a cheaper option down the road (that apparently can do it all, which they can't), it doesn't mean it's a good decision. That old saying, "pay for monkeys, get monkeys" exists for a reason. Work with professionals and specialists who exist to deliver actual results.
Be different or be distinctive in-market so that you're instantly recognisable? Well, both. Invest in your brand assets (logo, colours, marks, sounds, mascots etc), but don't be fooled in thinking that what you have to offer is any different to anyone else in the category. That said, you can own elements to make you 'appear' different. Apple own design, creativity, but like other computer, phone, music player companies, they make computers, phones and music players. Invest in your brand.
Tight targeting and short-term ROI focus can be hugely detrimental to the longevity and profitability of your brand. Performance marketing is vital - you need to make money today right? But you can't throw all your eggs in the basket for solely what's right in front of you now. Split the spend, split the media and help drive today's results by also focusing on tomorrow (I do not mean that literally).
Be media neutral. Too many people think there's a silver bullet to reaching the audience. And for those following the guidance of their marketers, often it's digital - because it's cheap and immediately measurable. But every channel has a role to play, and some work better than others in some areas. The point being is that it all comes down to knowing your audience and where they are. And when you define how to reach them, know that the more channels you use, the more effective you will be.
If content is King, context is God. The environment in which all your efforts are consumed has a huge, unconscious role to play.
And lastly, a thing about innovation...just because it's new, or that everyone seems to be 'doing it', doesn't mean you have to have it or execute via it. A lot of tech is weak and trends fad, irrelevant to your audiences.
There's a lot in this... but that's the fun of it all. The value and role for marketing and marketers is often undervalued because it's either not understood or supported properly. There's a huge opportunity for all businesses that work to get marketing right.