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It's Not For Me: The Realistic Approach To Marketing

10th April 2018, 14:04
Sales and marketing
People and skills
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This post was written by Cheltenham-based creative agency Alias, as part of our Gloucestershire Expertise series. We are giving local leaders the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience, to help other ambitious enterprises grow. If you would like to contribute to the series, please email

Being brave enough to say no in marketing is hard, but sometimes necessary, say Alias...

We’re big footie fans, we play most Friday evenings.

Every week, we send out a text to our pool of players to see who wants to step onto the hallowed turf of Bourton-on-the-Water’s leisure centre.

Usually there is a healthy clamour for places, but there is one guy who more often than not replies with a short and to the point message: “It’s not for me.”

Recently, this got us thinking how if more businesses took this tact when they approached their marketing activity, they would be a lot better off.

We see companies that base their marketing activity on what their rivals or peers are doing. The mentality seems to be, “If company X is doing it, so should we!” Other organisations get far too easily excited by the latest social media platforms or tactics and instantly decide that they must be in their existing marketing programmes.

We call this the ‘magpie approach’ – the process of seeing something shiny and new and grabbing it. It’s especially prevalent in the world of digital marketing with little thought given to whether it’s the right channel to help the business reach its target audience.

Companies clamour to grab their place on the latest channel, only for the interest to peter out a few months later. Google+, Digg, Delicious and Quora are great examples of this, social media channels that arrived with a fanfare and now seldomly get a mention.

This video from Adobe Marketing Cloud sums it up perfectly.

It takes a strong marketer or single-minded MD to say that certain tactics aren’t right for them, especially while everyone around them is jumping on the bandwagon. Just like the brave naysayer in The Emperor’s New Clothes, it’s a courageous decision not to fall in line.

But imagine what could be achieved by having more focus on the activity that does work, supported by the budget saved by forgetting the tactics that don’t.

We have seen this in action recently.

There has been an explosion in companies buying used caravans and motorhomes for cash. Open any of those magazines and there are pages and pages containing brightly coloured adverts, all with the same look, offering to buy vehicles in an instant.

So when our motorhome dealer client asked us to create an advert in exactly the same mould, we knew that they would be just one of a number saying the same thing. Instead, we challenged them to change the message and target the audience with a more mature message about unlocking their value in their vehicle.

motorhome alias creative

It was designed to made the seller look at their vehicle as an investment and elevate our client as a more trusted dealer in the eyes of the seller.

The result? In six weeks, the client went from having no used stock to having to turn owners away.

Its easy to get swept up and distracted by new opportunities so when a new marketing tactic presents itself, here are 5 questions to ask yourself:

Is your audience there?

Simply put, will your target audience be reached through the new channel or have they not bought into the hype like you have?

Are you preaching to the converted?

Will this new activity attract new customers or are you just diluting the audience you all ready have? You could be doing twice the work for little gain.

Do you have the time to invest to make it an success?

Another channel or tactic will require time and effort to create, nuture and deliver. Do you have the resource available to make this happen? Doing half a job is no job at all.

What will the knock on effect by undertaking this tactic?

By deploying a new tactic or campign, will any other marketing activity suffer by the switch in focus as a result?

How will you measure the impact?

Whether you're looking to generate clicks, calls sales or footfall, how will you measure success and impact?

Perhaps today is a good time to reevaluate your marketing activites and have a good, honest think about what’s not for you?

If all else fails, you could go big on WooWoo…

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