Does your marketing actually make sense?
As someone who helps people with getting more leads from their marketing channels and campaigns, I do get to see more marketing setups than most. And I honestly empathise with my clients, who are trying to get their head around a bewildering array of tools, technologies and platforms, often when marketing is not even their main job function.
But if I could provide only one piece of advice to someone who has to put some marketing or technology in place for their business, I would say this.
Does what they are suggesting actually make sense?
What I mean by this is that it should make sense to you - a normal business owner or manager. If the marketer/techie/designer/author cannot articulate how what they are suggesting will work, it's actually not your fault. It's theirs. And it's a really good signal to you to step back, not forward.
Let me give you three examples.
1. "You do lots of social media. Why don't we put your twitter feed onto your website?"
This must have happened for a lot of people, because you see it all over the place. Typically this suggestion comes from a techie, because they've found a nifty plugin that will do it, and it's a quick and easy way of padding out a website build proposal. In fact it's so easy to do - you just go to publish.twitter.com and enter your feed, and they'll give you the code.
And what's wrong with that? It shows that the website's got some life after all.
But let me phrase it a different way. What is right with it? As in, what is the point?
Ask them. What is the point?
Because the goal of every social media platform is to keep its users addicted to its platform. There are so many amazing distractions there. You can go from one person's content to the next, to the next, all in a couple of clicks.
Before you know it, you're buying a tee-shirt of a funny rabbit for your nephew. What were you looking at before?
The links from a Twitter feed on your website go one way - from your website to Twitter. Twitter will not help them back again.
So you somehow, amazingly, managed to get a visitor to your website. You probably paid for that - either in terms of paid advertising or organic traffic optimisation. And then you gave them an escape route. They are gone.
2. "Are you doing Pinterest? You should do Pinterest. We can help you do Pinterest."
Why should you "do" Pinterest?
There is a very good reason.
Because that's where your customers are!
But a lot of businesses participate in social media not for leads from customers, but because they hear that they should, and they don't quite know or understand what they should be doing and why. So they do a little of everything, badly.
Back to the primary point - if the marketing doesn't make sense, don't do it until it does.
In this case it's back to the 3 Ms that underpin marketing:
Market, Message, Media
Understand your market. Deeply understand your customers. Know what they like, what they are worried about, what they aspire to, and where they hang out
Once you understand where your market hangs out, if the answer is Pinterest, then the answer to the question of whether Pinterest is a good idea is obvious. If you're not sure that your market is on a particular platform, find out. Then everything else is clear. And then you can do one or two platforms really well, rather than 5-10 badly.
3. "We've got your monthly report. You have 10% more visitors on your website. Your Twitter feed has 23 more followers. Your Facebook page has 17 likes and your post on funny rabbits was shared 3 times."
But how many times did your phone ring as a result of your Google Ads campaigns? And how many calls converted to bookings?
How many more people went from Facebook to your mailing list? And how many new leads do you get per email?
How much profit did you get from your organic search traffic? Your PPC advertising? Your postcard in your newsagent shop window?
Reports are amazing. You can blind clients with pretty pictures, graphs, and tables full of columns that sound impressive but that most people don't understand.
When I was working for a well known bank on a huge outsourced contract, the outsource partner used to produce a 90 page report each month. The day rate was £1000 a day. It took about 2 people about 2 weeks to produce the report each month. Simple maths.
Who was paying for it? Yes. You. The customer.
Every report you read is produced. It all has a cost. Do you know what that cost is?
No one understood the report. No one had the time to read 90 pages a month. The only people who read it fully were the two who wrote it. And even they probably didn't fully understand why they were writing it.
Do you have the right numbers for your business? Do people tell you what you ask them
to tell you? Or blind you with pretty pictures? Remember, it is actually their job to help you understand what's going on - does it sometimes feel like they are trying to do the opposite?
“We believe what we want to believe, and once we believe something, it becomes a self-fulfilling truth.”
Seth Godin said this, in his book "All Marketers Are Liars". Be careful of complacency. Do you understand what your marketers are doing for you and why? If not, ask them.