This short guide addresses six common fails to avoid in marketing. They are so inextricably linked, that to only deal with one or two is not enough. They are the building blocks to safeguard against failure and enable you to create the right conditions to thrive amongst the distinct 11%.
87% of UK brands could disappear tomorrow and no one would care*
One of the biggest challenges facing any company is indifference. Why should I care? Tell yourself what you offer and ask why should I/you/he/she/they care. And keep asking. Ask until you reveal the core, simple truth. Then use that truth to build the company.
Stop telling me you’re professional, experts, innovative, passionate, blah blah. Be that. After all, people often forget what you say to them. But they never forget how you make them feel. So, don’t add to the noise, become the music. In the words of the genius Dave Trott, “Don’t tell me you’re a comedian, make me laugh”.
Read Havas Media’s “Meaningful Brands” survey for this year if you haven’t already.
*Source: Havas Media “Meaningful Brands” survey April 2015
"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you’re doing, but nobody else does."
Steuart Henderson Britt
Companies are too busy fighting fires and think they need a service or solution when they really need a strategy.
The great Rory Sutherland asks “Why is it necessary to spend six billion pounds speeding up the Eurostar train when, for about 10% of that money, you could have top supermodels, male and female, serving free Château Petrus to all the passengers for the entire duration of the journey? You’d still have five billion left in change, and people would ask for the trains to be slowed down.”
An engineer assumed that the Eurostar’s customer experience could only be improved by making the train faster, but that lacked perception. Are you even aware what your fundamental problem is, and have you got the right team to tackle it? What will make a tangible difference to your customers? Concentrate on the results you are aiming for, not on identifying the tools with which to use.
Concentrate on the results you are aiming for, not on identifying the tools with which to use.
The means with which we communicate, the channels, change and evolve. But the speed of human evolution is much slower; our base characteristics, wants and needs remain constant.
So repeat after me. Digital is not the answer. Twitter is not the answer. Mobile is not the answer.
The answer is the communication. The answer is the people – it always has been. Without people, the channel is redundant. Consider your social media “strategy”. Are you splashing yourself across every network going and leaving it to the intern? Stop.**
Crucially, don’t lose focus of the original goal, see previous Fail.
**More than a quarter of brand-related failures typically go international within an hour on social media, and a year after the crisis passes, more than half of companies haven’t recovered their share price.
Source: Polpeo, a social media simulation agency.
If you took your elevator pitch, your brochure, your website content, any communication and compared it to your competitors, would your staff or customers know the difference?
Me too, me too, is not memorable. Stand out. Be different. If you’re not different from your competitors then you are the same. And if you are the same, I don’t know why I’d rather use you. So I probably won’t.
If you’re a smaller, challenger brand you’ll find the “me too” tactic leads to “knock out” far quicker. You cannot possibly compete head on with a competitor that can outspend you. So be different.
If you’re the same fighting weight, you’ll find the “head to head” battle expensive, unpredictable and inefficient.
Me too, me too, is not memorable.
“Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about.” Cory Doctorow
Content Marketing is raging out of control. As a term, and a practice. Almost anything can be labelled content. And almost anyone can create it.
In marketing, logically, impact is often diluted by both frequency and scale. Think email. Think printed mail; its now underused predecessor. Sadly, as quantity increases, quality tends to decrease. Content has followed the same pattern, albeit on a faster trajectory. Whatever comes next will inevitably follow.
And so, when over 4 billion videos are uploaded to YouTube daily***, how do you get noticed?
Brands getting it right understand the importance of interaction versus interruption. They no longer interrupt people enjoying content, they become the content people enjoy; by involving customers, starting meaningful conversations, and creating valuable experiences together.
Before you publish that blog, or upload that video, remember; don’t add to the noise, become the music.
***Source: Mylio. ****Source: Domo, Data Never Sleeps.
On Wordpress alone, nearly 200 million blog posts were created in 2014.****
Stick to what you’re good at - no one knows your product, service or business better than you.
By the same token, an agency should stick to what they are good at too, which is helping you achieve your goals. Combining your inside knowledge with fresh thinking and broader skill sets or experience.
An agency that is media and industry neutral can offer some of the most exciting and original ideas because they aren’t shackled by the things that are shackling you.
Think about how easy it is to forget the previous 5 Fails when you’re bombarded with politics, hidden agendas and previous successes/failures. Delegating your challenges to an agency should empower you to deliver increased efficiency, effectiveness and ultimately a healthier bottom line. Not just eat into it.
Agencies aren’t shackled by the things that are shackling you.