AMiable Solution #250: “Common” Knowledge
True or false: Any marketing is better than no marketing.
False. Lump this myth with the popular but impractical (unless you’re a celebrity, striving for a certain reputation) “bad publicity is better than no publicity.”
Marketing costs money. Lots of it. And most organizations either don’t spend as much as they’d like to or as much as they should. Wasting precious marketing dollars—and hours--on campaigns or projects that are ill-conceived, poorly thought-out, or hastily-executed wastes money, time, and resources most of us don’t have to spare. Bad marketing doesn’t work, and it also reflects poorly on your organization, giving the impression, as Steve Henke, President of Harpeth Marketing, puts it, “that you’re cheap, amateurish or worse, don’t plan and execute well.”
Although printing typos or advertising incorrect prices won’t earn you any accolades, they’re not the worse things you can do in marketing. According to Henke, in his April 7, 2015, LinkedIn article, “Is bad marketing better than no marketing?,” the worst offenders in the “bad marketing” category are lousy print ads, bad emails, and salesy social media.
How can you ensure that your marketing is good?
Plan ahead. If you wait until the last minute to create your marketing, you will almost certainly convey, portray, or give away things you’ll later wish you hadn’t. Working under pressure works for some, but with your marketing budget and your organization’s reputation at stake, don’t take chances.
Research your list. This includes any promotions sent to house names. Just because a customer bought from you before or a person donated to your cause before doesn’t mean that these individuals will be interested in everything your company does. Sending a letter to customers outside of their market is not just as bad as mailing a back-to-school flyer to a retirement community: it’s worse. Sending inapplicable marketing to existing clients and customers may damage your relationship, leaving them wondering if you really “know” them.
Check your message. Your marketing message must always be appropriate to the audience and the venue. Don’t push sales in a blog posting. Don’t use industry-specific jargon with a general audience. Your audience needs to be able to relate to your message: market with their struggles, challenges, and needs in mind.
Your organization won’t grow without marketing. Make sure you do it well every time.