Say No To Cool Marketing

From: Ameen Kamadia

There are so many marketing choices available to service firms today, more than ever before.

Newsletters, direct mail, seminars, trade shows, brochures, white papers, advertising, all in online and offline forms--those are just some examples of the choices for creating awareness and interest in a company's services.

The bad news is that, in spite of all those choices, we have never had so many marketing activities underperform. The return on marketing investment for many service firms is dismal.

One reason for the low ROI is what I call "This Is Cool Marketing." If you have never seen the old Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland classics on cable TV, the formula goes something like this: Someone needs a whole bunch of money to solve some problem, and the kids are determined to help. After a bit of brainstorming, one of them (Judy or Mickey, I can't remember which) says, "I know! We can put on a play in your father's barn!" Or something close to that.

Just a few scenes later, we are treated to a full on musical extravaganza with costumes, lights, and choreography. No muss, no fuss, the kids make scads of money, and there is inevitably a Broadway scout in the audience who comes backstage with a contract in hand.

This Is Cool Marketing follows a similar pattern. Someone says, "Let's do a webinar!" Or "Let's do an email campaign!" Everyone agrees and the project is put into motion.

Unlike the movies, though, This Is Cool Marketing rarely produces the results everyone is looking for. Why? Because few firms pay sufficient attention to the parts between the initial idea and the departure of the audience after the curtains close.

There are a number of moving parts in any kind of marketing activity. Also, any marketing project has three very distinct phases: the pre-event phase, the event, and post-event phase. The pre and post phases rarely get the attention they need.

Let's use a webinar as an example.

There is the logistical part--registration, phone bridge, web viewer, system to capture attendee information-and the content part--moderator, presenters, presentations, rehearsals, Q&A prep.

Getting all those pieces working right is a feat in and of itself. But it's not enough to produce the best results.

To get the most return from a marketing project, thought and work has to be devoted to the pre and post phases.

Let's stick with our webinar example. How will the event be promoted? What communications will go out about it? To whom? Are there VIPs that merit special attention to ensure their attendance? Will you offer an incentive--like the ubiquitous iPod raffle--to encourage attendance?

On the post-event side, will the webinar be used in other ways after the live event? What kind of follow-on communication campaigns need to be set up? How will captured attendee information be used? What about the people who registered but didn't attend? Will they be contacted? Will some kind of fulfillment document be offered?

I've barely scratched the surface with this example, but I hope it's enough to illustrate the true scope of a successful marketing project.

Marketing projects are more than an idea, a barn, and a Busby Berkeley dance number. Execute on all the details-before, during, and after-and you will see a far better return on your efforts.

Happy Originating!


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