We are in the muck of a recession. Business is slow. The stock
market keeps draining away billions in wealth. Companies are acting
from fear. Advisers suggest they increase their marketing, to
build share and exploit opportunities in the vacuum created by
their competitors' inaction, but they look at you as if you just
landed from Pluto. Why? Because they don't really place much value
in marketing. Why? Because most of the marketing they have done
in the past has failed to meet the acid test˘the only test that
counts—to generate more profits than it costs. ROI!ROI!ROI!
Which begs the question: why does most marketing suck? No cold
fusion here. Because it falls victim to a series of myths:
Doing any marketing at all, is better
than doing nothing
That's crazy. Marketing costs money. Unless the marketing
is smart, on point and creates a substantial ROI, marketing
is just a way to camouflage the act of throwing thousand
dollar bills out the window.
Advertising and marketing are the same.
To hell, they are. Advertising means buying space or time
to relay a message. It can be important to marketing or
irrelevant, depending on the company and its goals. We told
one of our retail clients to stop advertising and sales
went up (that's unlikely to happen very often, sales rising
when you stop advertising, but point made˘sales didn't decline.)
Instead of throwing $250,000 out the window, the owner put
the money in his pocket.
The best marketing presents a company
and/or its products as beautiful or creative or sexy.
Who says? I'll tell you: the ego driven creators of beautiful/creative/sexy
marketing. What they won't tell you is that they don't care
a whit about ROI. They just want to be told what creative
geniuses they are. Some of the best marketing uses (as one
aspect of an integrated approach), infomercials with fat,
ugly people telling you how they lost 850 pounds taking
placebo pills filled with polyester packing material. Art?
No. ROI.Yes. Yeah!
Great marketing is dreamed up by highly
paid executives who make ads and brochures and websites
and then let them loose in the marketplace.
Crazy. That's the way it is often done and that's another
reason most marketing sucks. To achieve effective marketing,
you must reverse engineer the process so that decisions
about what the company needs to market successfully and
how it should be created, are made at the point of sale
and then traced back to the "geniuses" at HQ.
Only a sales person can really tell you what he/she needs
to make a sale. Start there!
aren't really part of the marketing process.
Nonsense. They are the centerpieces—the big enchiladas.
Yes, there is a difference between selling and marketing,
but if the marketing process leads to a sales team empowered
to close, and the salespeople are schmoozers not closers,
sales will be few and far between. Thousand dollar bills
out the window! Thousand dollar bills out the window!
With the right training, you can turn
non-closers into closers.
Forgetaboutit! You can't train non-salespeople to sell and
you can't stop salespeople from selling. Find the latter
and pay them well.
Great marketing agencies are the ones
who win lots of awards. So choose them.
Okay, if you want to borrow awards to place on your mantel.
But if you want sales to grow, go for the award-less agencies
that live by the credo: the best marketing is the product
of the least expense that results in the highest ROI. (My
marketing firm, MSCO (www.msco.com),
has won a few awards, I am embarrassed to say. The only
one I am proud of, we received from Forbes for creating
an ad that motivated more readers to act than any other
ad. (Now we don't enter any award contests.)
Good marketing is based on rules.
You should spend x percent of your revenues on marketing.
Great direct mail generates an x percent response rate.
Hogwash to it all. Every company, every time in history,
every product/service/every goal is different: so how can
there be universal rules. And if you are told that the best
return you can get on direct mail is 1 percent, don't use
direct mail. Or seek to generate 10 percent! Rules are for
schools. Results are for businesspeople! Great marketing,
inspired marketing, can be the most powerful force in growing
companies large and small. The great marketers - Bill Gates,
Mary Kaye, Tom Watson, Ray Krock, Sam Walton - avoided the
myths, avoided marketing that sucks and drove their companies
to the mount. You can do the same.