Why Your Marketing Ideas Stink

You have a new product, a new service or a new location. All of these take time and money to accomplish, so let me start be congratulating you. Now that you’ve done it, you want the world to know. Here’s how this can go:

A brainstorm is scheduled, and the leader, Lucas, throws out this question to the group: what are your ideas to help us get the word out to our customers? After a brief pause, one of the brainstormers, Joe, timidly suggests Facebook. Tracy follows, suggesting LinkedIn because she’s heard that it’s more professional (“Let’s not forget that we don’t sell to consumers, Joe,” she adds.).  Skylar offers to mock up some posts with the software that she uses for creating custom product labels. Remi in sales pipes up and says that an email sent to the CRM list would be more effective than social media. Tim’s idea is to focus efforts on the trade show booth. Sam interjects that the company could save a lot of time and money by just advertising in the Old Trusty Trade Journal.

Monique senses this conversation is going to go off the rails so she heads for the whiteboard and starts listing all of the ideas and then asks the team to help her prioritize them. And so the story goes. How do I know? Because I’ve been there many times before I embarked on my current career here at Anchor. I wish I knew then what I know now. There is something missing from this scenario, and it has nothing to do with the valiant efforts of this fictitious team. What is it?

STRATEGY FIRST.

What if the discussion around “getting the word out” started before the product was designed, before a new service offering was developed, and before you broke ground on the new location? In fact, what does “getting the word out” really mean? Maybe a better way to look at that statement is to consider what matters to your customer in relation to this “new” thing.

Who is the buyer, specifically? Who else influences the decision to buy? Have we asked and listened to their needs? What keeps them up at night? How can we help? What I’ve learned is that the sooner these questions can be answered, the more effective and targeted your message will be. Done early enough, it can also mean better product designs, service offerings and locations.

Put your branding and marketing strategy first, and everything else becomes more effective.