Cutting marketing spend seems to be the current focus for most but that shouldn’t have an impact on your efficiency. One way to cut costs but remain effective is to ensure you’re getting the most out of your advertising. I want to get back to the root of marketing and go over the importance of keeping your marketing messages simple and overall, understandable. By ‘marketing messages’, I mean how you convey who you are and what you do, to different target groups. This does sound simple although the number of complicated and indistinguishable messages that appear across our media channels seems to suggest that simple doesn’t come that simply to all.
There are a number of reasons why this is occurring but it’s really only down to two parties. Either the advertising agencies are creating indecipherable messages through overly creative strategies or the campaign management aren’t clear on their desired messages and target market. Having clear and simple marketing messages requires that, firstly, you know what your customers actually want from you and secondly, you are courageous enough to exclude aspects from your messages so you can remain focused. If you are not absolutely clear about what really motivates your customers then the temptation is to not exclude anything from your messages whereby advertising multiple products or services. The thinking being that by promoting and communicating everything you do, you will appeal to the widest audience however this ‘generalist’ approach is usually less successful and often more complicated to express. You’ll probably find that the agencies would be more than happy to agree with this generalist approach as it will often give them more of a free reign on the creativity but this will not necessarily appeal to the wider audience that you’re targeting.
If you know what motivates your customers and you require a number of messages then you can still create a variety of motivations but employ them individually. Focus each marketing campaign on one or two groups of customers with one or two core messages. Taking this approach also gives you more to say to your customers over a period of time whilst retaining a fresh and renewed approach to your marketing which provides greater flexibility. Carefully present target groups with your messages one at a time, one campaign at a time then test responses and tweak them for full effectiveness. Greater flexibility allows you to remain topical and react to the ever changing market but it is also fundamental in retaining a competitive advantage.
A good example where marketing messages were misconstrued can be seen when ESPN launched their ESPNW platform dedicated to women. The original thought was that it “portrayed women as unable to understand or appreciate sports in the same way as men.” There was understandably uproar until many statements later, they outlined that it is “…not about segregating women, either in terms of readership or coverage, it’s about creating a platform that caters to women.” Read the article to find out what happened.
So in summary, remember to stay simple and stay flexible to create Marketing Effectiveness.