Although this may sound like a Sherlock Holmes short story, the idea that there is a singular, almighty “answer” to your marketing problems is something that we have encountered in talks with prospects, discussed with clients and seen in headlines that we all stumble upon in the trade press.
As everyone in this industry knows, the modern marketer not only faces the immense challenge of breaking through the endless stream of chatter, but also of spending money efficiently to achieve tangible results in a world of vanity metrics. However, the content that is supposedly educating us on these subjects often presents trends as if they were the Ten Commandments.
If you were to spend 30 minutes perusing the online trade press (Adweek, AdAge, PR daily and the like) you would think that there are a finite number of ways to become an expert marketer. You’ve seen them. “5 Secrets to Seeing More Engagement Online” or “Print is Dead” or “Why No One Is Using Twitter Anymore.” A majority of these platforms moronical clickbait titles like these to convince you that their way is the be-all and end-all in marketing philosophy. We know that many of these are designed simply to keep you on their sites longer (oh, the irony), but it comes at a cost: People are believing this mess!
When brands have a marketing problem or they need a more strategic marketing approach from experts, there seems to be an expectation in this industry that the “one-size-fits-all” or Silver Bullet answer is their best bet. There is no answer. There are only problems to be solved and ideas to be born, hypothesized, optimized, redeveloped, tested, revised, pivoted, scrapped and reborn.
As hard as it is for many marketers and business owners to hear, and as simple as our industry may seem on the outside, marketing is hard work. Mainly because of its many facets and constantly moving parts, but also because it requires constant diligence in an effort to stay relevant. We're always thinking of the next thing - trying to avoid stasis - because consumers’ perceptions of our brands require tending to them like a garden. Expectations change and therefore so must our efforts.
Don't get comfortable. The moment you think you're killing it out there is probably when you should start pivoting into unknown territory. Just as with many things in life, living in your comfort zone is only limiting your potential. You have to branch out if you want to grow.
As you continue to work on your strategy while executing on-time and under budget, try not to fall in love with an individual style, tactic, medium or message. Develop a bias toward progress and process, not platform and program. Learn to appreciate the journey of brand evolution and reaching your core audience instead of succumbing to the latest trend because it claims to be the only one way to do it. We can all do a better job of dodging that dreadful Silver Bullet.
Want to learn more about tweaking your marketing strategy and avoiding the Silver Bullet? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at us @toucanads!
Toucan is a New Orleans advertising agency.