How to Realistically Plan Your Upcoming Marketing Efforts

Lately, we have been working with a client and chatting with a few prospects, and the whole topic of planning your marketing efforts has been, well, a hot button.

Then each of us received a cool infographic about a new product that has recently launched and that caused a lightbulb moment for one of us.

Which then led to a bit of an argument about using other people’s graphics and weaving a story and oh to hell with it. This is my blog, and I want to share something with you.

A Calgary company called Userful designed this infographic.  We have never worked with them and can’t give you an idea if they are any good. Their home page says they do video walls with endless possibilities. (apparently sturdy, easy-to-use software lets you deploy, manage and control any type of display wall from anywhere.)

What is fascinating about them, for purposes of this blog, is this infographic. Because it highlights the last 130 years of film and video production.

And two big things caught my eye: the lightning speed of advancement in the last 20 years compared to the first 100 years of that period and STILL the enormously heavy dependence on human beings behind the technology.

You have heard all kinds of stories about change and listened to the ‘old farts’ exclaim ad nauseam that either the end is near, the world is soon to crash or the famous ‘in my day’ garbage.

This infographic shows in a blindingly simple way that yes, change has moved along indeed at a lightning pace, that human beings are the ones driving both the ideas and the experience and lastly, we have barely scratched the surface of what lies ahead.

With that as a backdrop then, it behoves all of us NOT to get comfortable with anything new. To look at anything technological with an, ‘it’s just another tool’ attitude and to think 360 degrees about the ramifications.

Against that backdrop, I want to discuss your marketing efforts for a moment. One of the most frequent questions we get is – what is the best place to put my marketing dollars? Followed by I don’t want to do anything myself, give me something that runs itself.

A few blog posts back, my partner did a beautiful job of explaining the old-fashioned ways of marketing – television, radio, print and mail — the so-called golden years of advertising.

As you can see in this lovely infographic, the 1990’s started the tech bubble and the words social marketing entered our lexicon in the 2000s. Not even 20 years ago! And social MEDIA threw the whole marketing landscape into a tizzy.

Suddenly definitions and terms in both worlds were mingled and comingled and distorted.

Then Big DATA was added to the mix and emotion was thrown out the door and those cell phones became the primary mode of communication. And instead of television, radio, print and snail mail, we had email, and Instagram, and Facebook and Google ads and snap chat and this app and that thing.

Everyone tried to find extra funds for their marketing budgets, and some businesses doubled them from 5% of sales to 10% of sales.

But the bigger problem became where to put those dollars and still get a reasonable return.

Of course, there was another huge issue with the actual humans – the old fashioned humanoids trained to understand and prey on people’s emotions were ditched in favour of the younguns who were prepared to understand DATA and numbers strictly.

Logic and patterns usurped emotion and frailty. And businesses saw an opportunity and took over the whole social aspect to make a dollar, and then unsavoury folks saw an opportunity and unleashed faux identities and bots and the young people with utopia in their eyes and absolutely no business smarts refused to see or hire the right-hand guns they badly needed to help them manage their companies.

And suddenly there was chaos — all in less than ten years.

And I am giving you this big long backstory and a pretty infographic about television and video walls to show you that marketing has virtually gone the same way. I predict in 5-10 years social media will be on its last legs, replaced by a new tool. I predict that in the social sphere, the business piece will be gone.

At the same time, we won’t have the paper newspapers much longer, but we will get pretty much ALL of our news online. We are getting too smart by half for reading advertisements and are finally paying NOT to be bombarded with advertising. So advertising will morph into something completely different.

And while snail mail has mostly been replaced by email, who amongst us does not still LOVE to receive a handwritten, personalised and self-addressed something in the mail? Maybe not daily service but weekly service is still a big possibility. Real persons deliver it.

If you own your company, whether you like it or not, you are the chief salesperson. If you are an employee of your company, then, of course, you see the staff who do the marketing and selling. But that does not mean YOU can’t help push those messages along.

When someone asks me, “what shall I do or how shall I do it?, the first thing I ask is, how much budget do you have left for the year? Because really, why bother starting anything if you don’t have at least a part of the budget for it? Then I suggest no more than 10% of the budget for social is good enough for most traditional businesses. (Obviously not for the online businesses. I don’t play in those markets, so truthfully I can’t offer an informed opinion.)

Keep 90% of your marketing efforts focused on the 90% of those places your customer frequents.  And video walls do make sense for some of you as a thing to look into for the near future.

I want to leave you with two other thoughts about your future marketing efforts.

The total customer experience always has, is still, and will forever be based on human interaction. It might be aided by a technological tool. But it will take a human to think it, tune it, experience it, approve it and pay for it. The basics of good marketing always have, still and will forever be based on human emotion because real human beings buy based on emotion. We humans would be fools ever to forget that.

Today, many consumers are exhausted from the latest and greatest, the over the top, the shiniest, brightest, most expensive. I am referring to both the business to business and the business to consumer markets. So why not do something different? Set yourself apart and do the unexpected uncommonly well.

Never forget the inexpensive, tried and true ways of yesterday. The stuff that worked was not overly expensive but set you up as someone of substance. Let those be part of what you stand for. Let those be part of your brand. You might be surprised at the results you find on the road less travelled.

To your success! And by the way, if you try the guys at Userful,  let us know, please. Another CANADIAN company!  We care.