Do you ever find yourself engaging with prospects on an unpredictable, one-off basis? Perhaps you’ve sent an email newsletter to your client list once—and never again. Or you came away from exhibiting at a last-minute trade show without attracting any qualified prospects.
These are all signs you’ve committed a random act of marketing. And if you’ve done any marketing—as a marketing professional or business owner—like most of us, you’ve probably done something similar on at least one occasion. But if these scenarios sound far too familiar, the good news is it’s possible to avoid most—if not all—random acts of marketing.
What is a random act of marketing?
Good marketers in good companies employ random acts of marketing for good intentions: usually to drive revenue and increase brand awareness. However, most random acts of marketing are ultimately less effective than they could be, because they:
· Don’t include clear strategies and goals
· Weren’t planned for or in the budget
· Are not integrated or tied to planned marketing tactics
· Lack defined metrics for success
The downside of random acts
Random acts of marketing tend to be reactive instead of proactive—and acting quickly can trump the need to be strategic. Consequently, it’s often unclear how a random act fits into the overall marketing strategy which makes success difficult to measure. And ask any marketer who has been there: It’s pretty tiring to sustain a constant stream of unplanned marketing activities.
Random acts can be expensive, both in terms of financial cost and time outlay. There’s an opportunity cost associated with any random marketing activity: What might you have accomplished with your time and money with a well-vetted, thought-out strategy instead?
Random acts of marketing also tend to be disjointed, poorly timed, and reactionary tactics that can confuse and alienate prospects and clients by sending the wrong message, using the wrong channel, or creating a negative customer experience. This can cause your brand to feel inauthentic, risking your reputation, the quality of your product or service, customer satisfaction, and many other factors.
How to create conscious acts of marketing instead
- Start with a marketing strategy, your roadmap to what you can accomplish with your resources. Your strategy should ladder up to your overall business goals as well as define your brand, key audiences, expected actions, and key messaging.
- Layer research onto your core strategy, to ensure you thoroughly understand your competitors, your audiences and their preferred marketing channels, and your key differentiators.
- Define the optimal mix of marketing tactics and channels to accomplish your goals. These could include events, content offers, email campaigns, digital marketing, and social media to name just a few.
- Ensure all your touchpoints and messages align with your marketing strategy as well as your overall business strategy to ensure a seamless and consistent brand experience for your target audiences.
- Test and measure success by defining your key performance indicators up front. When possible, try out tactics on a small scale first; then tinker and adjust for optimal effectiveness.
Marketing opportunities don’t always neatly present themselves during the annual marketing planning/budgeting cycle. However, it’s still possible to avoid random acts of marketing while also maintaining flexibility.
Before considering any new marketing strategy, put it through these four filters:
- Who is the target market for this new marketing strategy?
- What are your company’s growth goals for this target market?
- How will this new marketing strategy help accomplish these goals?
- What does success look like and how will you measure it?
Implementing conscious acts of marketing definitely takes effort, especially the first time you build your marketing plan. But it’s time well spent, because you’ll ultimately save time, money, and frustration as you become an even more effective marketer.