Marketing choice overload: Tips for your survival

GRMA-Life-Saver-imageJ.K. Rowling once said that it’s our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities.

As marketers, now more than ever, we are faced with an incomprehensible number of choices. You now have more choices in just the type of specialty agency you enlist than earlier marketers had in choosing the right TV channels or radio stations. And those choices are increasing daily, so how do you know you’re spending the right amount of time in the right areas making the right choices?

It requires discipline – a certain amount of restraint to invest most of your time and treasure in the proven tools.

We seem to be operating in a culture in which some sort of unspoken imperative is pressuring Marketing to embrace every new tool that rears its sexy head. With the advent of the digital world, our exposure to the myriad of tools is unavoidable. But regardless of their popularity or ubiquitous press, we must have the discipline to make choices judiciously.

Yes, the marketing ecosystem is changing rapidly, and it is getting harder to manage what is expected of you. But is the answer to this growing complexity the relentless chase after the shiny new technology and the capabilities it promises?

Maybe what we all need is a reminder of the basics.

  • The fundamentals of marketing have not changed. Sure, the tools are evolving and a lot of smart people are creating new ways to help you implement various tactics, but don’t become distracted from your core responsibility of creating products and positioning them to attract your particular tribes into buying. Calm down, take a breath, and recognize that you can’t test everything out there at the expense of getting the fundamentals wrong.
  • In this increasingly complex world, relationships are more important than ever. In the quality of those relationships, however, not necessarily in their quantity. Look at the number of specialized agencies available to today’s marketer. Can you truly take advantage of a digital agency, a content agency, a social media agency, a conversion consultant, an SEO specialist, and an outside paid search team? Perhaps you can accomplish your business goals more effectively by deepening your partnership and trust with one or two outside teams and focusing on the results that come from their strengths. See our post on finding the right partners.
  • 50 million Frenchmen can be wrong. Resist being dragged into the drama of the marketing issue du jour. For instance, the hot dramatic topic right now in the media world centers around a perceived lack of transparency. Too many people are spending a lot of time and energy right now searching the dark corners for evidence of surreptitious activities from their media vendors and/or agencies. The fact is that the marketing ecosystem is increasing complex and difficult to manage, so we’re all figuring this stuff out as we go. As someone recently told me, just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean you’re being cheated. Much of the transparency issue will sort itself out as the digital media world matures, so in the mean time, don’t assume a wide-scale problem exists just because it has become a hot topic.
  • Evolution, not revolution. This last reminder connects the above points. Relative to transparency, programatic buying or big data, refinement is a slow steady process. So should be the implementation of those shiny new tools and marketing consultants. For example, it seems that everyone believes they will get improved cost efficiencies through programmatic buying, and some do. But it is clearly not for everyone. Depending on your media objectives, programatic buying could actually hurt your media efforts. And we can’t ever forget the birth of the internet and the race to fund everyone with something to sell using this seemingly limitless technology. Remember 2000? There was a limit.

I am reminded of a quote by David Ogilvy. If he were alive today, instead of the word research he might have used, data.

“I notice increasing reluctance on the part of marketing executives to use judgement, they are coming to rely too much on research, and they use it as a drunkard uses a lamp post for support, rather than for illumination.”

About Mike Lake

Mike is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Evergreen Trading. When not playing jazz trombone he is probably obsessing about writing content that will capture the attention and interest of business people and fellow learning junkies everywhere.

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