Marketing isn’t about shortcuts

Shortcut Remember that one essay test you took in school.  You meant to study.  But for some reason you just didn’t have the time. Truth be told, you didn’t really read the book.  But you skimmed over the Cliff Notes.  And you did repent in the end — cramming the night before the test. 

Sure, sure…you should have started cramming a few days earlier or at the very least, not so late that night.  With the radio on. 

Do you remember what you got on that test?  I’ll bet you weren’t happy with the grade.

Shortcuts didn’t work in school and they don’t work in marketing either.  I have yet to see a marketing department or agency that had a drive-up window. 

I get why it happens.  There’s an almost constant demand on CMOs and marketing directors to produce results.  And no agency worth their salt doesn’t want that too.

But there are some pretty important aspects of your business and products/services that need to be understood before we just whip up a brochure or direct mail series.

We aren’t doing the  strategic thinking and planning just to get our jollies.  We have a responsibility.  We owe it to you.  Because you’re about to spend a lot of money.   We want to make sure you spend it right.

This applies if you’re doing your own marketing too.

Getting ready to produce something. Are you sure you’re not taking a shortcut? 

  • If you can’t describe how you are genuinely and relevantly different from your competitors,  stop.
  • If you can’t describe your ideal customer, stop.
  • If you don’t have a broad brand/marketing plan so that you aren’t operating in a vacuum, stop.
  • If you haven’t defined how you are visually going to communicate your company’s offerings, stop.
  • If you don’t know how you’re going to follow up on the leads the new marketing tactci generates, stop.

Whether you’re working with your internal team or with your agency —  don’t short change the process.  If you do some strategic thinking up front and make some of those key decisions, the tactics and tools actually get produced much faster and much more cost effectively. 

Shortcuts are never going to yield the results you want.  Better to do it right than do it again.  Just ask your former teacher who gave you the C.

How do you ensure that you’re not taking a shortcut?

Related posts:

~ SWOT:  Your annual check up
~ Do you go where everyone else goes?
~ Product packaging – part of your brand or disposable?

4 comments on “Marketing isn’t about shortcuts

  1. Lewis,

    It drives me a little nuts. I need to deal with this very issue tomorrow.

    I understand the desire to do it fast. But why bother being fast if its going to be wrong or worse yet — generic?


  2. Isn’t branding supposed to be about differentiation?

    That’s probably why the brands that really focus on their marketing and branding are the ones that stand out the most. They can trump all of those points that you made, Drew, and how.

    One of my favorites: Singapore Airlines.

  3. Your points are all quite valid Drew. They apply to almost any subject, including sales.

    Lewis is right. Many people are all about activity. They are about producing quantity, not quality, or worse… just trying to appear busy.

    It’s a matter of ethics. Do the job right the first time. Shortcuts rob everyone, including yourself. Do the job right, simply because it’s the right thing to do.

  4. Couldn’t agree more. Furthermore, many companies also seem to invest too little emphasis on good marketing execution in general, placing too much faith and reliance that their products and services are so good, they simply “sell themselves”.

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