How to Avoid “Missing the Mark”

In Marketing, Strategies by Jill CrosslandLeave a Comment

This isn’t another post-mortem of Pepsi’s recent ad screw up; it is a look at how an SMB can avoid making the same marketing mistakes.

STORYTELLING: Why you do what you do is the heart of your business story and by osmosis, this becomes the core of your story telling. Find your narrative thread; weave it through your marketing. People connect with an authentic marketing message; first through an emotion and then with their minds.

COMPANY CULTURE: As a for-profit company whether a solo entrepreneur or medium sized business if you have a commitment to a social or environmental mission it must be a part of your business model. Don’t pick up a social issue or philanthropic endeavour when it suits your needs no matter how genuine you try to be it will come across as disingenuous.

THE COMPANY THAT DOES IT RIGHT: Think Budweiser, they have made themselves part of the American landscape in every way. They can push the envelope because everything they do is consistent. When many companies were worried about how best to acknowledge the events of 9/11 Budweiser had earnt the right to say something. They had one simple message to convey – RESPECT – the subsequent ad was shown only once but is still talked about today.

BRANDING: If you are asked about your own favourite brands, chances are you can sum them up in one or two words like classic, innovative, informative …… company marketing that really resonates doesn’t need a lot of processing; the reaction is visceral before we even start to process it with our brain. This brings us back to how authenticity and simplicity work best.

Before you are knee deep in a piece of marketing; whether major campaign or posting on your business’s twitter account ask yourself “Want do I want to accomplish?” If the answer is full of clichés such as ‘unity, peace and understanding’ you need to rethink things. Know your consumer and treat them with respect. Are the optics right? Is the copy focused?

If you don’t already have one, create a test group – a diverse selection of people who are going to get back to you with their genuine reactions.

You will ‘miss the mark’ sometimes and when you do make the apology short and sincere with no ifs, ands or buts.


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