There are a number of reasons we don’t usually talk this way, but marketers love to gamble. To be fair, it’s part of the job; after all of the tedium, technical troubleshooting, and tactical planning, you get to see if your thing works. You get to hit Publish or Send or Go and find out how the world will receive it.
And you wanna know what’s cool? Sometimes it works. And when things perform really well and you do better than you’d hoped, it’s absolutely thrilling (especially the first time). Naturally, you’ll want more of this feeling; in ways both good and bad, it will shade your thinking.
One of the bad side effects of marketing success is that, in your efforts to repeat that former success, you can lose sight of all the other possibilities—even when you’ve officially plateaued and that former peak is well behind you. How do you shake off your blinders and widen your focus again?
This article from AdAge offers eight possible approaches for re-examining your marketing if it’s gotten stale (or just isn’t working right). Here are the quick CLIKK Notes:
№ 1: Diversify* your presence. Marketing channels change. Sometimes, one place will become more or less popular over time (especially for a particular audience). There are, of course, new channels being created all the time. Trying a new spot in your marketing efforts is one of the simplest ways to find all-new populations of people—or at least, to find a new way of communicating with them.
№ 2: Test new messaging and creatives. To break this into two questions: (A) What haven’t you said to people already (or in a long time), and (B) How haven’t you communicated your key brand messages? Sometimes, patterns get worn out and users stop noticing certain things—and maybe not just because of you, but because of bigger public trends.
№ 3: Explore testing into new audiences. The whole point of this suggestion is that the new audiences to try might not seem obvious. Try to suspend your disbelief and, instead of defaulting to why certain audiences would NOT work, try to ask yourself why they could work. The better ideas will pan out.
№ 4: Look for tactics with a large audience. A few different angles on this one. You might, for example, need to scale up the size of the audiences you’re addressing, if you’ve done all you can with smaller and more targeted groups. You might need to throw a big net in the water to gather some fresh data on who else is out there and potentially worth trying next. Or perhaps you just feel like trying your luck in the big city, so to speak.
№ 5: Automate your processes. Sometimes, the best way forward to the next success isn’t growth per se, or going and getting more customers. Sometimes it’s doing more with what you already have—and automating processes is an excellent starting point because (A) there are probably a bunch of time-consuming things y’all still do manually and (B) you get 95% of that time back if you find a way to make it happen automatically.
№ 6: Create a flywheel or compound effect. A literal flywheel is the perfect mental image here, so for those of you who don’t know: in a car, a flywheel’s job is basically to “keep the engine’s momentum rolling” even when you’re not actively pressing on the gas. Marketing examples include SEO and loyalty programs, which preserve a business’s “momentum” even when their keepers aren’t paying full attention.
№ 7: Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes. You should be doing this anyway, but it’s always a useful exercise for two reasons. First: there’s always a chance that, if you think carefully about your target customer(s), you’ll find another place where you can serve them. Second: because times and trends change, you may find new ideas (or decide to abandon old ones) when you revisit this in detail.
№ 8: Go back to basics. Sometimes we overcomplicate things and get stuck. Again, it’s pretty common to find yourself here if you’re chasing something that worked before, but when that happens, we can stop seeing the forest for the trees. When things work, they usually work for a simple reason (no matter how complicated the details), and going ‘back to basics’ puts us back in touch with the simple reasons that things sell.
* Clarification: We wrote in yesterday’s top story that it’s not usually a good idea to multiply your number of Facebook ad campaigns by splintering them into smaller and smaller pieces (even though this “looks like” smart diversification). This is problematic because of how Facebook’s machine-learning algorithms work; multiplying the number of ad campaigns without multiplying the budget or total audience size winds up “cutting the learning runway short” for each individual campaign. But in today’s case, we’re referring to your marketing presence in general, across social and the web, and not just Facebook ads in particular. For today’s purposes, diversification is a good thing much the same way it’s good sense for investors seeking new investment opportunities.