by Gregg Arnold
After working with hundreds of organizations over the past 20 years, one thing has become excruciatingly clear to me. The successful ones develop a focused marketing communications strategy, and they stick to it. They don’t engage in “Twitch Marketing.”
Unsuccessful organizations jump at the latest fad or most obvious activity without a careful assessment of their marketing mix. They “twitch market” by doing whatever looks to be the easiest or most obvious marketing activity of the moment.
So why do they do it? What makes them “Twitch”?
Twitch Marketing makes you feel good
We all have a natural tendency to jump at the closest, most obvious thing to do, even when it’s not what makes the most sense strategically. Establish a strategic marketing plan and fight the urge to take shortcuts.
Twitch Marketing costs nothing (or so you think).
Many small and new companies fail to recognize both the opportunity cost and actual cost of selling and prospecting new business on a one-to-one basis. Free management’s time to close deals by developing a marketing strategy that reaches multiple prospects at the same time.
Twitch Marketing is “fad marketing”.
It’s important to stay up on the latest marketing fads, but not at the expense of focusing on what works. Social Media is certainly the latest flavor of the month, but how does it weigh in with the rest of your marketing mix? And does Social Media represent the highest and best use of your time, or an intern’s?
In Twitch Marketing, the focus is in on a marketing opportunity that comes at the expense of your overall marketing system. Fight this urge. Think strategically about who you’re targeting. With a clear, established plan to market to your key demographic, you can free up your organization’s time to close sales, instead of simply generating leads.
Cheetah marketing is a smart alternative to Twitch marketing.
A cheetah pursuing its prey makes a great analogy for the value of focusing on a winning strategy. If you have ever watched a cheetah go after a gazelle, you will notice that the cheetah picks out a single gazelle from a large herd and focuses on it like a laser.
When the gazelle realizes it’s being chased, it runs back into the herd yelling “Oh no! Not me, not me. Look at Peter’s rump over there, it’s meaty. Please go after him!” Gazelles, after all, are herd animals. Their safety derives from blending into the herd.
During the chase, other gazelles will be closer to the cheetah; sometimes the cheetah will even brush against another gazelle. But the cheetah never loses focus on the initial gazelle.
As the cheetah did its situation analysis (we’re talking an MBA cheetah here) it considered market facts (gazelles are herd animals), its strengths (speed - up to 70 mph) and its weaknesses (lack of endurance - it runs a maximum of 500 yards before it has to stop and cool down). The cheetah’s strategy is to pick one gazelle and chase it no matter how many other “better opportunities” (closer gazelles) present themselves.
And it works. If the cheetah constantly “twitched”, and chased whichever gazelle was closest, it would be chasing fresh gazelles and over heat before succeeding.
The same is true with marketing. To develop a winning marketing program, all organizations (regardless of size) need to follow three proven steps:
1) Situation Analysis (SWOT),
2) Determine Target and Message
3) Identify and Stay Focused on the Optimum Mix of Tactics/Mediums
The cheetah succeeds because it has a strategy and it stays focused on it. It makes appropriate course corrections as the gazelle darts and turns, but the overall strategy remains intact.
The same is true with great marketing communications programs. Perform a “situation analysis” for your organization, purposefully pick your target market and message, and focus on the tactic(s) with the most leverage.
The three steps are critical; there are all kinds of names for the steps throughout marketing literature, but the basic concept is the same. The amount of time, effort and formality put into the planning process has a direct bearing on the success of your organization. Once the strategy is developed, the key is staying focused and avoiding the temptation to “Twitch”.
Gregg Arnold is the immediate past President of the PSAMA. He is also a principal in Jackson Whitmore Advertising, a new advertising agency in Seattle
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