Marketing Constipation

I asked one of my long-time friends, mentors and honestly, the best writer I have ever met, Mark Zweig, to write a quick message about marketing planning. Within five minutes, on his BlackBerry (yes, he still uses one), he sent me the below.


The big problem with marketing planning is that rarely do the individual or individuals charged with developing it know what the overall business plan for the organization is. It either doesn’t exist–or, in the case of many small, privately-held companies, the owners don’t want to share it. So, in essence, you’re flying blind.

Another big issue is that many times too many people are allowed to have input to it and/or have veto rights over anything in the plan. That cannot be the case or the whole process gets constipated. One person should have ultimate authority to say “yay” or “nay” to everything in the plan.

Mark C. Zweig, Chairman and CEO

Marketing Analysis Paralysis

The other day, I a client of mine called that I haven’t spoken with in five years. She is such a wonderful person and a successful real estate agent. Although she has had some success with her marketing, she was frustrated with marketing in general.

Reason: analysis paralysis. I run across this with about every consultation. So many channels to choose from, so many options, so many suggestions and so much data that it leaves even the most savvy business person staring at a chaotic, never ending hole of opportunities.
Marketing today is as much of what not to do as it is what to do. My client, like so many others, either end up spending too much money, spreading too thin or simply frustrated and quitting.
Answer: relax, sit back, discover what you are naturally good at, make a list of all the marketing you have done and consult with a trusted advisor to audit your efforts.
A major key point to this exercise is to get an objective, professional and trusted opinion. Similar to an attorney or doctor, an objective opinion will help sort through the cloud of confusion. I always tell clients, my most difficult client is myself, because everything is so subjective.
We have a meeting coming up in the next week or so, and I already know much of what my advice will be for her. Since her budget is not currently adequate for full service strategy and execution with WhyteSpyder, she needs to initiate specific projects and campaigns that she can afford, then do what she is good at: setting appointments, showing properties and closing deals.
One major initiative is her website. A website is so critical these days. It must have a purpose, which in this case is converting visitors into leads. Without a useful website, all other efforts will never reach their full potential.
Another effort will include leveraging the one existing effort that has worked. She needs to maximize this opportunity and expand on it. Though this seems obvious, in too many casis I have witnessed clients not doing more of what is working because they spend so much energy and dollars trying to everything else. When they try to do everything for everyone, they are too busy to even analyze what has worked.
Two other efforts will include PPC and email marketing. With a limited budget, these two direct marketing efforts are cost controllable, immediate, personable, data-filled and reactive. They also bring in interested visitors to the site versus taking a shotgun approach at an entire market.
Stay tuned as we move forward on this one. Although this is a small business case study, it’s very much applicable to all business sizes. Every business, and I mean every business, all shapes and sizes, face the exact same issue – just on different scales.

What marketing analysis paralysis experience have you had lately? What’s your marketing frustration? Comment below, I would enjoy hearing from you.

Eric Howerton, WhyteSpyder

Senior Marketing Consultant
479-200-9342 m

The 360 View of the 360 Marketing Strategy

Integrated marketing. We all want it, we all need it, but few do it.

Establishing a 360, integrated marketing campaign is by no means an easy objective. It is complicated, confusing and chaotic – and rightfully so. But, there is a process to simplify the madness:

  • Identify your target market and audience: You should really exhaust your energy to clearly identify what market you’re approaching and who is in that market. Confidence is the key to developing your integrated strategy, and it’s difficult to be confident when you are unsure about who you are reaching. Once the market and audience are defined, you will have a clearer picture about what channels your audience utilizes, how they behave, what their buying cycles are and if they will share your information.
  • Your website is the hub: When developing an integrated campaign, it is important to keep your website or microsite as the center of your efforts. Everything should point to your site and your site should point to everything from it. Why? Beyond the fact that your targets can engage further with your integrated efforts in a single environment, your site also retains extensive analytics, giving you the ability to interpret behaviors and react.
  • Only play where they play: We all know new channels, especially social media channels, are popping up constantly. It’s literally analysis paralysis, unless you stick to what channels your target audience is engaged in. This comes back to your well-developed target audience identification. You have to select the best channels for the majority of your audience. Don’t fall victim to being everywhere and everything to everyone. It’s better to do the best channels well, than all the channels…okay. Finally, simply repopulating the same content, messaging or graphics on multiple channels doesn’t cut it. Each channel requires a specific approach.
  • Don’t cancel out traditional media: An integrated marketing approach is not only about digital – thus being integrated. Traditional media, such as TV, radio and print can play a significant role with your integrated campaign. Remember, it’s not about what you or I think, it’s about how your target is engaging.
  • Stay open for changeIf there were a definite, secret sauce to marketing, everyone would be rich. The reality is, however, that markets change, audiences change, channels change, technologies change and behaviors change. What used to work may not work. What used to not work, may now work. You have to see marketing as an equally necessary component of operating a business as accounting – it will never be complete and will never go away. With that said, just like in accounting, you have to constantly review strategy, execution and results. You have to pay attention, you have to adjust and you have to react. Marketing is a dynamic function of business, not a static expense. Establish a 90-day or 6-month integrated campaign, review it, adjust and act.

What have you seen as an effective strategy for integrated marketing? What is your approach?