A big part of my working life is spend locked in rooms with business owners, entrepreneurs and management teams. There is no crisis, but everyone is frustrated that the marketing and promotion of the business seems ineffective or never gets executed.
Often the failure of marketing is not a lack of planning, it’s not even a bad idea. It’s really silly things which bottleneck your team or frustrate the work, meaning nothing gets done.
I would like to share some of the common issues I come across that hinders people marketing effectively…
The Marketing Mafia
The mafia is the process of consulting lots of people and soliciting their opinion on a campaign or strategy. What results is a mass of opinion which has to be processed, evaluated and incorporated. If that process doesn’t slow things down, then when you come to final stage you result in either watering down the effectiveness or offending people whose opinions have not been incorporated.
There is one more issue I see a lot, the family problem. The significant other of the MD who prefers to market the business in their style or preference. This makes the marketing departments job a nightmare because if you disagree or object it could hurt your future with the company.
In the end you have irrelevant marketing, safe marketing or no marketing until the next department head meeting.
We all love a bit of bling every now and then. Magpie leaders love shiny things. New stuff, new ideas and new opportunities. The new stuff comes, goes and marketing picks up the pieces and takes the blame when other things are scrificed. The team are told which tools to use and then held to account when those same tools fail to deliver. What results is resentment both on both sides.
Òne of the issues here is that the next new idea is implemented before the last one had chance to take root what results is that the strategy behind this falls apart because of a Magpie’s love for new things. When marketing is then implemented it is a crisis mode approach, being pushed by the next shiny thing.
The devil of detail
I have literally seen a filing cabinet full of marketing plans that have never been implemented. It is a topsy-turvy world where all the fine details have to be worked out before a course of action is agreed. In some of the silliest situations I have seen amazingly thought-through plans never get signed off or worse leadership won’t sign off ‘in principal’ until all the detail is presented. This means tons of work is done just to get a yes or no, if it is a no, then so much time and energy has been wasted.
You need a plan, sign off of the plan and then a detailed plan will follow. There will be adjustments and sometimes things will have to be canned, but it shouldn’t be the norm to have every detail worked out before you get agreement to implement.
Some plans never get signed off because decision-makers are too busy. Leaders need to get out of the way of holding up marketing because they are too busy to sign it off. It destroys morale and wastes so much time.
Coming back to the filing cabinet, it was filled with campaigns which never got signed off because of the leaders schedule, plans which were detailed, but rejected as well as some great ideas which were shelved because marketing didn’t want to waste time working up another plan to be rejected.
This is too common. Marketing is done as a reaction to events. High cost, high energy at short notice. It breaks the backs of the team and the true potential of the campaign is never seen because compromises have to be made to make it happen.
You bounce around from campaign to campaign and at the end of the year people are shocked at how much money has been spent.
I am not meaning implementation here. I mean literally execution. Marketing is killed before it can be measured. This is common across the agency world as well as within businesses. Marketing is a process not an event. It is subjective, sometimes intangible and takes time to pay off. Unlike a sales person who you can fire if they don’t hit their target, not all marketing activity is measurable and it often takes months to see any positive results. A marketing strategy may take more than a year to see a benefit and even longer to see real performance.
Implementing a new strategy has to change the organisation, how it presents itself and the tactics used to deliver it. That isn’t an overnight outcome and there are no get-rich-quick schemes that work.
I have seen companies abandon projects literally within weeks of signing it off because ‘it isn’t working’. That is a dangerous way to operate in marketing. If the marketing campaign needs six months in your plan, you need to give it six months.
All marketing should be about ROI, the strategy you implement to market your business has to deliver but often the organisations issues hamper the ROI by not taking marketing as a seriously as perhaps finance or sales.
If you are a business leader, marketing is important, invest time in it, you cannot delegate it away but you cannot micro-manage it either.
Marketing done well can pay dividends to your bottom line for years to come. It can remove objections in the sales process and attract inbound sales and leads. Invest in your strategy, invest in your people and invest in your implementation.
Frustrated with your marketing?
Let’s talk! We’d be happy to help you build a strategy but only if you promise not to do any of the above.