August 26, 2016
It never ceases to amaze me how often business people use oxymoronic statements as part of their marketing philosophy. We often accept this kind of language as normal speech. Take for example “least effort most gained.”
Actually, the only time that the “least effort could produce the most gained is if more effort was misplaced. There are hundreds of these phrases — for example; clearly misunderstood, act naturally, seriously funny, definite maybe and many more. Not all the statements in this category are necessarily moronic. My favorite sayings come from a much-beloved character who played baseball for the Yankees as well as managing the Yankees and the Mets. His name is Yogi Berra, and many of the sayings that came out of his mouth were just as profound as they were oxymoronic. I often think about some of his sayings when people ask me a question about their marketing strategies. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, I am going to use a number of Yogi’s quotes to make important points regarding how business people often go astray when making their marketing plans. So without further ado, let’s take a look at my favorite Yogi-isms and how I see them relating to marketing strategy.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Many of the business people who come to us do so because they are lost. What I mean by this is that they try things without really giving the marketing process any serious thought. They will run a pay per click campaign, TV, Radio or newspaper ad because they heard it could produce results. Often they hear this either from a sales rep or worse second had from a business associate. This type of marketing is no different than gambling. Effective marketing requires effort, thoughtfulness and lots of testing. Preferably strong A-B testing. This is true whether you’re talking about a website, TV spot, or newspaper article. The messages, images, call to action and offer need to be thoroughly tested. The truth is if you don’t plan, you plan to fail. If you have no goal, any result will do. If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will take you there. So when you come to the fork in the road, don’t just take it – put forth a real effort to succeed. Do your planning and testing first and then pick your road. You will also do better and your bank account will appreciate it.
You can observe a lot by just watching.
Often we have new clients come to use with little or no knowledge of how their marketing is performing. This is not just TV, Radio, Billboard or print advertising that I am talking about. It’s also true of their Internet marketing. This really seems so crazy because the main reason for using Internet marketing is that you can track almost any action that takes place. I know most use it because most of the fish are biting on the Internet, but engaging in online marketing without setting up tracking and analytics is suicidal. Even old school analog marketing can employ tracking. For example, your TV, Radio or Print ad could drive people to a URL, or have a special phone number, or special coupon code. I even see many TV and print ads using QR codes to drive people to special landing pages that track leads and sales. All the top social media sites have built in tracking and analytics both for their organic traffic and their pay per click ads. The truth is, most small businesses just don’t take the time to observe what the traffic is doing. Most of their decisions are made by guessing or feeling and emotions instead of “just watching” what they really need to see. Yes, you can learn a lot by observing if you take the time to just watch!
It ain’t over till it’s over.
Marketing is a lengthy game. If a person commits to success, takes the time to learn what is needed, and then takes the time to plan and execute that plan, they will win a lot of campaigns. The game isn’t over until you quit. Quitting is not an option for any businessperson who wants to be successful. This doesn’t mean that sometimes you have to abandon faulty ideas, products or services. The truth is, you have to adapt and evolve because our world evolves. Businesses evolve, the competition evolves, and the rules change. This forces you to adapt. Change your methods, your goals and strategies. Your business and marketing plans must evolve if you wish to win the game. But make no mistake, marketing and business are a long game, and it ain’t over till you say it’s over.
It’s like déjà vu all over again.
An odd thing my business partner, Carl, and I see is business people making the same mistakes over and over again. It’s as if they are stuck in some kind of loop. I’ve seen successful business owners spend $15,000 to $20,000 month after month on a marketing campaign like pay per click, even though they aren’t getting a reasonable return on their investment. What’s even crazier is that this type of marketing doesn’t normally come with a long-term commitment. They can quit at any time. When asked why they continue to throw money at marketing that is not working, the owner will usually say something like “it used to work well’ or “I need to stay in the public eye or the phone won’t ring at all”. The reality is that marketing can be an objective endeavor. You can take advantage of the trends you see over and over again. On top of that, you can learn to see the trends if you are using the tools available to track these trends. Use your tracking and analytics to find trends and take advantage of them. You will be glad you did, and you too will be saying it’s like déjà vu all over again all the way to the bank.
No one goes there nowadays. It’s too crowded.
Marketing, in many ways, is like a war and you can use battle strategies to win campaigns. One of our favorite strategies is hit them where they ain’t. Many marketing venues are crowded with competitors. This is true for word of mouth marketing as well as Internet and old school analog TV, radio, billboard or print. If you’re going to a face to face networking event and you have more than one competitor there, your chances of successfully reaching your goals are much harder to achieve. It’s an uphill battle because you have to differentiate yourself and also get all the other element’s right as well (message, call to action, imagery, offer etc.). Here are the facts. If your primary competition is strong in pay per click, you need to be in organic search. If your competition is strong in organic search for their website only, you need to concentrate on producing high-quality videos, blogs, and social posts so that you will be strong where they aren’t. A great byproduct of this strategy is that well-optimized videos, blogs, and shared social posts can show up in organic search on page one – especially if optimized for long-tail keywords. Fighting a strong opponent in a crowded marketing medium is not a strategy for success. If you win, it will cost you two to ten times as much as hitting them where they ain’t. Beat the competition by avoiding a crowded marketplace. Be the smart business owner who knows not to go where it’s too crowded.
Never answer an anonymous letter.
If you use e-mail marketing, make sure your e-mails are going to opt-in groups. Sending email blasts and newsletters to people who don’t know you will only get you in trouble. It’s against the law to send an email to unsolicited people. It’s called spam. Even though spam abuse is widespread, it’s no excuse for any business owner to use it as a marketing practice. This is especially true since you have lots of options for doing email marketing correctly. You can buy opt-in lists, you can build them yourself by asking for email addresses in your promotions. Heck, often time all you have to do is ask. Most retailers now ask for your zip code and email address. Most people will cough up an email address if they feel they will get something of value in return. It’s up to you to make sure you provide that value. No one wants to be spammed and most will never answer an email from someone they don’t know.
A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
Your nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore. Heck, a dime ain’t worth a dime anymore either. Every year marketing costs keep going up. AdWords campaigns become more competitive driving cost up. As old school marketing shares shrink they cause TV, radio, and print advertising costs to go up. Inflation causes advertising to go up. The rules keep changing which raises the cost of labor, which increases the cost of social media marketing. This forces smart business owners to explore new marketing venues looking for bargains. This is where a dime will be worth a dime and in some cases two nickels. Make sure you get competitive bids from competing vendors. Go through the trouble of comparing the costs of different media venues. If you don’t have time to do this, get an agent of record and let them do it for you. If you want your money’s worth, make sure you’re getting two nickels for every dime you spend.
Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical
When t comes to marketing, it is 90 percent planning and the rest is execution. You need to think first, test your message, discover what works and then execute it over and over again. If you haven’t gone through the exercise of testing the message, images, call to action, offer and the media you are going to employ, then you’re just swinging at every pitch. As in baseball, understanding the fundamentals is important. You also have to acquire specific skills. Most of these skills require you to learn some type of technical platform, like AdWords, Facebook Ad manager, or Google analytics. You also need to understand design, layout or programming skills such as HTML or CSS. Not having learned these skills or acquired the specific marketing knowledge puts you at a distinct disadvantage. Don’t expect to hit a homerun until you master these skills. Business and marketing are games of skill. Most of your success will come from your mental efforts, the other half is just physical.
Somebody’s gotta win, somebody’s gotta lose, just don’t fight about it. Just get better.
As I said above, marketing is a lengthy game. You have to have the stamina to stay in the fight long enough to figure out what really works, to practice your trade, perfect your product, pitch and message. Somebody will win, somebody will lose. Concentrate on getting better. You will learn a lot more from your mistakes than from your successes. Be ready to go the distance, because somebody is going to win and it might as well be you, but only if you’re willing to get better.
This article has included several of my favorite Yogi-isms that are analogies to common marketing mistakes many business owners often make. These analogies will help the reader avoid these common mistakes and will help them be more successful in their marketing efforts. The nine Yogi-isms used will teach the reader what behaviors to avoid and what marketing methods to adopt in specific business situations.
Hector Cisneros is the president and COO for W Squared Media Group LLC. A digital Marketing Agency in the N.E. Florida Area. He is also the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio Show Working The Web To Win. W Squared Media also does Business as Working The Web To Win online and in Florida.