Random Marketing Thoughts

As the year ends, I’m sharing what I consider some of the most relevant marketing advice I’ve been giving during the last year.

  • Marketing is not magic.
  • Marketing can be measured, but it cannot be guaranteed.
  • Just because something worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it’ll work for us.
  • Each business is as unique as any individual, any snowflake, any whale fluke, etc.
  • If there is a marketing avenue that is guaranteed and immediate, we would all be doing it. And that alone would make it ineffective.
  • The key attribute of any marketing plan is patience. Plan it, create it, implement it, and wait (collecting data). And wait. Six months is the minimum (unless the numbers are too obvious). Expecting immediate results from any marketing is unrealistic.
  • No marketing endeavor stands alone. People find our messages in any number of places, so we need to be in as many as possible. But integrating physical and digital experiences remains a tough challenge. Only 6% of marketers reported that they had fully aligned and integrated their digital and physical touch points. That means that 94% of us have limited integration.
  • Just because we put it out there, doesn’t mean our target has seen it. It used to be that people were exposed to approximately 500 messages per day. Today, that number is closer to 5,000. And most people have developed a right-side-of-screen “blindness.”
  • Our message is more often lost on social media (even when we pay for it) than it’s seen. There’s just too much. Two billion people on Facebook. Say our ad shows up 3x/day. Three times in a 24-hour period. How much time would someone have to spend on FB for our ad to be seen even once?
  • We don’t know what we’re missing. We – as people, not advertisers – can’t even keep up with the information we want or search out. As advertisers, our target audience can’t keep up.
  • Then there are the sites that aren’t optimized. What if the answer to our need (right features, color, price, etc) is on Page 4 of search results, but we have to settle for second-best because that site owner ignored Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
  • Pay per click (PPC) has become a branding avenue. Originally, it was sold as a leads generator, and most still view it that way – but the numbers don’t back that up. The average click-through rate (CTR) is less than 2%. Take away fraud. Eliminate “fat finger” clicks. The number that’s left is so minuscule as to be useless. I’m not saying don’t do it, because it still has value. Its value is as a branding exercise. People are sophisticated and rarely intentionally click on ads. Of the 3,000 messages that you’re exposed to today, how many are you acting upon? How about yesterday’s 3,000? Can you remember the last time you intentionally clicked on an ad?

Some of this seems obvious because it’s our own behavior. As consumers, we don’t click on ads, we don’t go to Page 4 of search results, we ignore the right side of the screen and “jump over” ads in text. These are next-to-universal online behaviors.

I’m not saying don’t bother with marketing because the odds are against us. On the contrary. We have to market our businesses. We will not survive without marketing.