During the course of my marketing career, I have seen many brands change their marketing strategy, marketing direction and marketing definition on an annual basis or even worse, more often than that! For those of us who have professed the art of marketing, it becomes second nature – even an unconscious behaviour – to resist jumping ship when the water gets rough. It’s crucial for a marketer to support a marketing strategy, position, a brand persona or brand style. A marketer has to stay focused on the chosen strategic direction, even when there’s a storm brewing – and stay the course.
There’s always a new idea, a new marketing strategy or a different approach available for a brand to take.
It may not be wrong, but the true question should be: Is it right for the brand at this time? Marketing is all about putting a stake in the sand. This doesn’t mean being rigid. In fact, for a brand to grow it must be fluid, it must evolve and move in a certain direction. At the same time, a marketer must allow for seamless transitions that will add to its positioning.
There are a few behaviours you can count on when you roll out a brand marketing initiative and determine your marketing strategy. It doesn’t matter if its packaging design (or redesign), an advertising campaign, product positioning or a marketing concept – here are a couple of things you can be sure of:
- Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Respectfully though, not everyone’s opinion should have equal weight.
- Many people, including colleagues, don’t like change. Just as everyone has an opinion, most resist change and will sometimes criticize what’s new or different. Change often makes people uncomfortable.
For any marketer to put a stake in the sand with their marketing strategy, and stand behind it when the going gets tough, they must do their marketing homework beforehand. Here’s how:
- Investigate! Know your market. Know who plays in your market. Know what competitive brands are out there, and what marketing strategies they use. Get out there and do store checks, get price comparisons, look at promotional initiatives, and say yes, even to a one-time Nielsen three-year trend of the market category and segment you are considering.
- Evaluate what you have now. Don’t assume it is wrong. Do your research. Talk to your target audience. Get their take on your brand and on your brand’s positioning. It doesn’t matter what you think, it matters how your brand communicates with its audience. Say yes to market research! It’s well worth the investment. (Notice I didn’t say cost!)
- Quantify the potential. Know what marketing strategy works and what doesn’t. Measure it on a scale that will allow you to accurately assess your marketing stance.
After you do your homework, you can launch your marketing initiative stocked with objective, “non-personalized” rationales. This will give you the tools you need to ward off those nay-sayers and the ones that resist change! Furthermore, you need to wait it out. It’s amazing how with a little time, a revolutionary idea, or funky package can become comfortable and the good old standby!