These days, modern marketing is trend-driven.
Facebook…Google Plus…Foursquare…Pinterest…YouTube…app ads.
These—and not good, old-fashioned ROI-driven direct marketing—are what capture the headlines in marketing trade publications today.
With each new marketing channel, a cadre of consultants almost instantly arises, ready—for a big fee—to guide clients in the use of the new medium.
Many marketers get extremely excited about new marketing trends.
I get extremely skeptical.
Here’s why you might want to hesitate before taking the leap into social media or whatever flavor of the month the new media consultants are selling…
First, lots of gullible businesspeople get taken in by the newness of new media.
But where do you want to invest your marketing dollars and efforts—in what’s new? Or in what’s proven to work?
Once the initial excitement wears off, marketers begin to discover that some new marketing trends sound better than they perform.
GM, for instance, recently cancelled its Facebook advertising campaign…because it wasn’t producing results.
Conversely, trendy marketers often consciously avoid direct mail, landing pages, e-mail marketing, and other proven forms of direct response—precisely because they are old, not new, nor trendy.
But the best thing about “old hat” direct response marketing is that it is proven to work, that is, to generate a positive ROI.
Lots of articles are being written now on measuring the metrics of social media. But these metrics seem to focus on things other than dollars.
I guess it depends on your goals. Do you want to have “conversations”? Or do you want the cash register to ring?
So should you jump on the new media bandwagon? Or eschew the trendy…and stick with tried-and-true marketing methods?
I think the answer is to follow the Pareto Principle…
Spend 80% to 90% of your marketing budget and effort on tested direct marketing methods.
Spend 10% to 20% cautiously experimenting with new media and tracking its performance.
That way you can be in the loop without getting burned.
For example, according to an article in Direct Marketing News (5/12, p. 12), General Electric has more than 200,000 Facebook friends and more than 50,000 Twitter followers.
What does GE post on the social networks? Photos, questions, and jokes.
What do they get out of all this activity? Hundreds of “likes”, comments, and mentions.
Apparently GE management thinks that getting Facebook “likes” is a worthy expenditure of time and money.
I’d like to see proof—not conjecture, but proof—that it sells a single light bulb or refrigerator. But I have not.
One more thing: I once worked with the marketing director of a major publisher, creating mailings for his main product, a large directory.
One year, he announced he was throwing out all our mailers and trying new “creative” mailings from a hip, young ad agency.
I’m sure you can guess what happened: the new creative bombed. And since he didn’t split test against the proven old creative, sales vanished.
He was quickly fired and escorted off the premises holding a box with his family photos and other personal possessions.
The bottom line:
1 – Keep using your current marketing campaigns as long as they continue to work.
2 – Incrementally test new campaigns and marketing methods in small quantities and measure performance against your “controls”.
3 – Lord Kelvin: “When you can measure something in numbers, then you know something about it.”
4 – If a trendy new marketing channel or method fails to perform in repeat tests, toss it. Spend your time elsewhere.
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.
Access Internet Mastery Center Blog for more Internet Marketing reading pleasure.