24th Jun 2015

The Most Dangerous Phrase in Marketing

Whether your company does social media marketing, traditional marketing or any combination of the two, the most dangerous phrase in marketing is, ‘…but we’ve always done it this way’.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is all about ‘the now’. That hasn’t changed with the advent of online marketing, just the speed it travels at has. When you coveted your first pair of Nike’s or sat and dreamt about owning a real pair of 501’s, the ‘now’ was what was in that season. You had three months of ‘now’. These days with social media marketing and mixed media advertising, fifteen minutes ago is old news. If you don’t acquire the latest ‘must have’ item before the end of the day, tomorrow will be too late. Your coveted Prada handbag will be all over Facebook tomorrow – in someone else’s hands.

In the speed with which company branding and advertising travels these days there is no room for looking back at what you did yesterday, last week or last year – after all, you’re not going that way. What would have happened at the 2013 Superbowl when the lights went out if Oreo wasn’t ready and waiting for such a gift? Nothing. Everyone would have sat around for 34 minutes waiting for the lights to go back on.

Instead of the power outage making the news, Oreo made the news for completely turning an inconvenience, into an opportunity. Money doesn’t buy marketing like that. Preparation and experimentation does. Oreo had the foresight to take the company’s social media in an economical new direction a year before the Superbowl and was a well-oiled social marketing machine when the time came. Had they stuck to the, ‘… but we’ve always done it this way’ mentality they would have spent $4 million for 30 seconds of half time air, which despite the cost carries no certain guarantees.

What makes good marketing?

The ability to master and exploit change is becoming a new currency in an advertising agencies portfolio. The demonstration of material that shows you to be at the front, middle and rearward crest of every mixed media marketing wave is essential for you to compete successfully in marketing any industry. That type of portfolio means that you can produce persuasive marketing, in real time and across different formats. If you could make effective sales flyers and promotional postcards in the eighties, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to make the same devices work on today’s customers – the grand children of your customers back then. It’s a bit like taking two aspirin for a headache and expecting the fact that you took those two pills to cure all future headaches.

Great marketers don’t know that they don’t know. What was in the past is irrelevant – old news that can’t be repeated. They don’t know what can’t be done and they don’t know how they are going to achieve it. That means there are no limits on what they can imagine. Great marketers make every campaign a voyage of discovery. The only thing they do know is what the customer wants to achieve, what their brand values are and what the client has to say. A great marketer assimilates this knowledge and then sees where it will take them. Because of this, great marketers make great marketing, it doesn’t appear as a result of a happy accident.

Great marketing tells a story

It is essential that you understand a client’s pain points to avoid the ‘… but we’ve always done it this way’ mentality. By knowing the problems you have to solve you can set about looking for a solution. Each set of problems is unique to your customer and their company brand or industry, picking an ‘off the shelf’ campaign that you did previously will not work, whether you did it last week or last year. Consumers are getting very savvy to marketing and rerunning an old campaign in a new color will not speak to them, or their wallets. They are not suffering from yesterday problems any more.

When you understand these pain points you can reverse engineer a marketing ‘story’ from them and present a solution that draws them in, engaging the user and company alike. A good advertising story covers all points, makes them interesting and relevant to their target audience – and nothing is out of bounds. A great storyteller uses every word to progress the action or fill in a character, great marketing does the same.

Great Marketers Are ‘Givers’

One trait that courses through all great marketers veins is the ability to look to the future. They thrive on innovation and nothing is spared from their forward thinking ways. Because of this yearn to bring the future to the ‘now’, marketers tend to be very giving people. Ideas come easily to them and they have to share as it is usually through think tanks and brainstorming that the ideas are formed into workable campaigns.

This spirit of innovative giving separates a simple marketer, from a great marketer. It also makes the difference between a success and fail. This constant flow of ideas indicates to a client that there are always options available and builds up credibility as it strengthens the working relationship. It may appear that they are hyper active, ADHD, OCD and digitally versatile all rolled into one over-delivering package, but that makes them extremely good value! These types of great marketers make great business people as their inability to get stuck in any type of rut makes them credible. You can never imagine them ever entertaining the same type of campaign twice as you know you’d never hear ‘but we’ve always done it this way’, coming out of their mouths.

Seasoned marketers and book writers like Seth GodinYaro StarakBrian ClarkMichael Steizner and Darren Rowse are good examples of over-delivering on value. When they are ready to ask for sale, they have already established their credibility.

When you are looking for a marketing company to work with on your company image or branding, keep going until you find one that looks to the future and dreams big. You can be sure that you’ll always get something fresh, something new, something very ‘in the now’, as that is the way they live their lives.

When you’re an excellent marketer – the future is now.