By AndrewMcCarthy at 10 August, 2009, 10:00 pm
We all know the survival tips by now. The gurus, and veterans have reeled off clichés for months. To beat the recession we’re focusing on our core strengths. Cash is king – of course – but the long view still matters. We may alter our course but our goals will remain constant.
It’s easy to be cynical about clichés, however well-intentioned or insightful. Such advice seems glib and simplistic when you’re at debts’ door, faced with falling sales and an uncooperative bank.
But then most businesses are pretty simple. As managers, we tend to complicate the execution. We know we should focus on our goals and long-term objectives but we’re still beguiled by fads, flavours of the month and short term pressures.
Our direction and focus changes as we leap from one ‘opportunity’ (read distraction) to the next.
Take online marketing, for example. The temptation to jump onboard the latest ‘must-have’ marketing technology or trend is overwhelming.
From crowdsourcing to social networking, from viral promotions to real-time messaging, the tools and dynamics at play have changed dramatically. This is fertile ground for creative marketers. Employed effectively, of course, new online initiatives can have an incredible impact on customer relationships and business performance.
But don’t adopt a new technology just because everyone else is.
An ‘online strategy’ is not about keeping up with the joneses. It’s should be one aspect of a co-ordinated marketing and business strategy; not a standalone project.
Ask yourself why your business needs a second life or what your i-phone app really achieves.
What metric will you use to measure their success? Are you trying to connect with your audience at a subtle, psychological level or generate leads? Is the cost of development and ongoing support the best allocation of your communications budget?
Even if they appear cost-effective, don’t pursue marketing ploys for their own sake. Savvy customers know when they are being manipulated or hoodwinked. As a business you need to prove yourself trustworthy and respectful.
If in doubt, steer clear. Even worse than the cynical marketing ploy, is the neglected Facebook group or customer forum.
So, do like the management books advise and reduce extraneous activities. Focus on your core business and your marketing objectives. Live the clichés: win the war and lose fewer online battles along the way!
Andrew McCarthy is Fantastic Media’s Strategic Planning Director
a (dot) mccarthy (at) fantasticmedia (dot) co (dot) uk – www.fantasticmedia.co.uk
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