What's New in Marketing? What’s Not?

By Experts at Deliver® Magazine

If half of life is just showing up, as the old saying goes, then the other half is paying attention.

It’s easy to get distracted—by the details, the facts, your emotions, the noise and the clutter. It’s harder to stay on track, follow the game plan, and keep sight of the ultimate goal.

As marketers, we’re even more prone to get distracted. We love shiny new toys as much as, if not more than, any other profession. So we buzz about the “just came out” this, and the “revolutionize the industry” that. We’re nuts about new.

The danger is that we start following the new, and the tried-and-true becomes, well, boring. We’ve done that, we understand how it works, we’re tired of it already—even if the world of consumers and customers is not. We change our marketing campaigns, our slogans, our packaging, our minds—not because the current program isn’t working, but because we’re tired of it already.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that the buzz throughout the marketing world is all around the latest social media platforms or the microblogging technique that’s going to light up the world—when in reality, most of our audience hasn’t a clue about these.

True, it’s always great to be out in front of a trend—try explaining to the CMO how you missed the “obvious” and you’ll know what we mean—but we shouldn’t allow the newness of an idea to overwhelm our strategy. In other words, don’t abandon what works.

Most of America doesn’t know what microblogging is (69 percent in one recent poll), or doesn’t have (or really make) the time to post regularly to a blog or belong to a social networking site (only 46 percent of adults do).

Yes, marketers need to pay attention to the growth of social networks and new ways to connect—but more important, we need to pay attention to what works. It’s time to stop being distracted by the noise and focus on the game.

Traditional media isn’t the new kid on the block, but it’s still an effective way to reach the largest audiences. And it makes an incredibly good partner with digital. Consider that a recent study found 76 percent of Internet users bought an item or a service thanks to the influence of direct mail. Any cataloger will tell you that sending a print catalog helps boost online sales, and many retailers know that it’s the print circular that drives customers into stores.

So, next time you hear someone going on and on about the latest-greatest social media site that’s going to revolutionize the business, nod your head and listen. But don’t lose sight of what’s really important: marketing that sells more product. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.

---Source: Deliver® Magazine Feb. 26, 2010 issue ( Deliver Magazine is copyrighted by the USPS®.

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