Seeing Through the Clutter

It takes a lot of time, energy and resources to effectively market your business. It’s one thing to strategically choose which tactics to pursue, let alone making the commitment to consistently craft original content, measure effectiveness and stay abreast of trends.

Companies know that marketing is important. They know that they should be doing it, and that they should be spending money on it, but what they fail to see many times is the difference in quality from one purveyor to another.

Over and over, we see organizations paying an arm and a leg to the first or cheapest vendor that comes across their path. The digital guru who cornered you at an industry conference. The content company offering a webinar who reached you through a targeted Facebook ad. The industry-specific expert who claims to be able to get you more leads, cases, appointments or customers with just one easy trick. That silver bullet that will make all your sales worries vanish in an instant.

Look, we get it. It takes time to the vet vendors and the urgency to start investing and continue to invest in marketing is all around us. You're running a business, and that business requires your attention in order to function and grow.

It's a sign of the times that people will start “doing marketing” because their competition is, because their boss went to a conference or because sales are very good or very bad. In those moments of desperation, we just want someone to do the job. It’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of ways to market products and services.

The issue isn’t that companies are hiring what might be considered shoddy vendors and modern-day snake oil salesmen. The issue isn’t even really that all of it is done hastily and sloppily. The issue is that this practice has resulted in companies having a skewed perception of marketing and advertising.

Every agency knows what I'm talking about. There are clients who need convincing that they need to even be marketing and there are clients who understand its importance and are simply looking for the right team to partner with them.

Our industry has created an ecosystem in which companies throw money at one-stop shops and silver bullets. These companies are choosing to throw away their money for the promise of a quick payoff in the form of vanity metrics and satisfaction that they’re “doing marketing.”

I encourage any in-house marketing employee, director of marketing, CMO, small business owner or department head reading this post to take a moment and really consider a few things: Are you just throwing tactics against the wall and hoping something sticks? Are you using social media, PPC, outdoor or television because your competition is? Or maybe because your gut is telling you that seems like a good idea? Have you done your research, profiled your audience, developed a strategy and executed consistently to reach your goals? Have you committed to the marketing mindset? Or are you just avoiding stagnation?

Toucan is a New Orleans-based advertising agency.

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