Common sense marketing fuelled by technologyRemember a simpler time? Before Google ruled the world. Before analytics, influencers, likes & shares, and social outreach. Networking was done on a golf course or at least face to face at an event.

At the risk of sounding old, I think sometimes we´ve got so caught up in new technologies that we´ve lost sight of good old-fashioned principles of marketing – a lot of which is based on common sense and understanding your audience.

Roughly 20 years ago when I was planning a marketing campaign, I´d ask a series of simple questions: who is the audience? What are they interested in? What are our USPs and what is the best way to communicate them? What´s the best channel to use – do they listen to the radio, do they read the newspaper, do they respond to direct marketing etc.? Is there any way we can sensibly measure the success of the campaign? What does success look like?

Just because we have new and exciting forms of media available, it doesn´t mean that common sense goes out the window.

Recently I spoke to a company that had signed up to some brilliant software that could track all its content, measure engagement, and provide incredible insights into their audience, including what they wanted to read. The problem, however, was they´d forgotten that the software was only of any use if they kept feeding it content – something they weren´t set up to do. They´d jumped straight to the amazing (and expensive) technology and skipped the basics.

Every time I meet a company whose objective for their new social media campaign is “more likes” or “to grow our reach” I can feel the grumpy old man in me ready to rant: “That´s not an objective, that´s a given”. If you didn´t deliver those, the campaign is surely a total failure?

The key is to set sensible objectives – ones which can be measured over a period of time. There´s a reason the SMART criteria has stood the test of time. If there are reach-orientated targets, for instance, consider the following: Does that actually mean you´re building a community of brand fans who can then be leveraged in some way? Are you trying to drive traffic to your website where they can be turned into leads by pulling them into a good old sales funnel?

Stripping marketing back to the fundamentals and then supplementing them with new technologies and platforms – rather than the other way round – will yield much better results. You´ll be surprised to discover how many of the basics have got lost somewhere along the way.

What things are we guilty of that go against common sense marketing? What fundamentals have you witnessed fall by the wayside, having been squeezed out by technology?

Ben Hollom

January 9, 2015