The Absolute Truth About Marketing
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
  Do you make these mistakes in marketing? Part 9
Continuing our series on new ways to shoot yourself in the foot, we have these three doozies:

[ ] Management by committee: Fear of taking a decision (because of a lack of knowledge) is often masked by a committee system. Marketing is like war. It requires generalship. The best generals take advice, then take decisions. The worst take cover behind their colleagues. A committee is the best way to kill a marketing initiative that can bring dramatic gains because it precluded boldness. A committee is as brave as its most fearful member. If you want action that causes dramatic change, appoint a person with courage to lead the marketing team. When some mealy-mouthed sycophant complained to President Lincoln that Ulysses S. Grant drank a bottle of whisky every night, Lincoln asked the complainer what brand of whisky it was. “Why do you want to know?” came the stunned reply. “Because I want to send a case to each of my generals.”

[ ] Investing time and resources in creative but rushing together offers and lists: This is standard practice. Everyone feels qualified to criticise creative (because they are consumers). But few know anything (or bother to learn) about the other dimensions of a direct marketing proposition (or any marketing for that matter). There are only 3 variables in a marketing campaign: the list or media, the offer or deal, and the creative. Direct marketing testing reveals that the list or media choice is 100% more influential than the offer which in turn is 100% more influential than the creative. Given this, the devotion of time and effort to creative is in inverse proportion to its importance. But it will always be thus. Go figure.

[ ] Failing to integrate campaigns: Oh, they say it’s integrated. Because they use the same images in the tv commercial in the mail piece, and the slogan is the same in the publicity sheet. But integration is more than that. A truly integrated campaign need not look like it came from the June Dally Watkins School of Deportment for Brands – so long as the spirit of the campaign, the passionate statement of belief that it reflects, is demonstrated at every level. So much “integration” is colouring by numbers by unimaginative, single dimension agencies who hanlker for the days when the tvc was all they needed to make. Media fragmentation is irreversible and human diversity is infinite, so a campaign should express itself in an infinite number of ways. Just as a person does.
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Make a big mistake and you learn the Absolute Truth. Mistakes are the only teachers. Why not rely on other people's mistakes to avoid making your own? Learn marketing secrets, tips, hints, insider information, strategies, tactics, ideas, plans decoded, and more... Search engine marketing, email marketing, Internet marketing will be added soon.

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