One of the biggest hurdles we have to overcome in the market is reluctancy.
In general, people don’t like change. But in the 2016 business environment, and especially in marketing and advertising, change is the only constant.
Yet a business can survive—even thrive—without changing their marketing strategies due to strengths and competitive advantages in other areas. But despite any current profitability and growth, this can lead to extreme longterm disadvantages in the marketplace.
Many have adopted the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” idiom as the foundation of their company’s advertising strategies. Further, a portion of the companies that follow this ideology continue to be profitable—creating further reluctance to change.
In short—many companies and organizations have become complacent. They spend the majority of their decision making process analyzing worst case scenarios for new strategies and spend very little time evaluating and auditing their current marketing efforts. Complacency can create a cyclical process of sticking with what worked 10 years ago, simply because it worked 10 years ago—all the while, creating an opportunity for a competitor to discover and utilize more cost efficient advertising.
Complacency has to be combated, and it starts with a change in mindset. Instead of conservatively standing still, waiting for competitors to fill the void, companies should be constantly asking themselves,
“Can we improve?”
Just because something is good doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better. And just because something is good today doesn’t mean it will be good tomorrow. Numerous advertising mediums and strategies have plummeted in effectiveness since the introduction of the internet, just as numerous mediums plummeted when television started to be consumed by the masses. (Cue “Video Killed the Radio Star”)
Everything has a certain amount of effectiveness, and thus, everything has a fair market value. In advertising, prices can stay inflated to support traditional business models, while newer advertising methods can be extremely under priced due to the surplus of inventory and lack of companies willing to change. Hence, magnificent opportunities exist in new mediums due to this surplus in inventory.
And therein lies the trap.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are the “marketing fad” companies. Flying by the seat of their pants, trying everything that comes their way. This group of businesses has usually seen success in one new marketing strategy, so they buy everything everyone is selling—both literally and metaphorically.
In short, companies, organizations, and individuals of all types need to…
Be more critical.
We need to treat marketing like an investment, not an expense. Set up tracking methods to identify which campaigns are profitable and which are not. A/B test the creatives used in campaigns. Not get consumed by extraneous data. Stay focused on the goal each campaign is attempting to achieve, and assess all performance based on that.
Consider this example:
Company XYZ’s Facebook page’s analytics for a week were:
- 500 new fans (10,000 total)
- 1,000 impressions
- 50 engagements
Company ABC’s Facebook page’s analytics for the same week were:
- 100 new fans (2,000 total)
- 5,000 impressions
- 500 engagements
It’s easy to fall into the trap of getting enamored with “likes”—a nearly arbitrary number now. At one time in Facebook’s algorithm, the number of “likes” or “fans” you had was a much higher weighted variable in determining if your posts get shown or not. Now the algorithm cares much more about average engagement on posts and other, non-“fan” factors. This shift, which happened in a few short years, dramatically changed marketing on Facebook. What once was great is now mediocre—and it could all shift again tomorrow.
That’s why we have to make sure we’re staying focused on achieving our primary goals.
A business or organization’s goal isn’t to have an electronic profile that a bunch of people have visited once and clicked a button. Goals should be events like the sale of a product, a lead on a new client, or consumption of an article with beneficial educational qualities. Give me Company ABC’s page’s content all day long—they’re receiving more exposure (impressions) and driving more people to a certain action (engagements).
That is why, with this ever-changing market, it’s so imperative that you…
Don’t become an apologist.
Just because something worked ten years ago doesn’t mean it will work now. And just because something is doing great today doesn’t mean it won’t tank tomorrow. Don’t become an apologist for a certain marketing technique or advertising medium. They’re all subject to change—sometimes rapid change:
Graph via Business Insider
We need to be critical ambassadors for our companies and organizations’ goals and remain steadfast. We don’t need to be reluctant to dive into new strategies, but we also must put in our due diligence and not hop on every bandwagon. We need to research new strategies, audit old ones, and make decisions based on achieving our goals.
Don’t get complacent.