In today’s business environment it is increasingly difficult to carve out an edge. So it’s understandable that when something works, one might continue to do it on an annual basis – and that’s a marketing pitfall prevalent in many businesses. Marketing complacency is a sure way to lose your business edge and start down the slippery slope towards total oblivion. In order to survive and make a mark for your brand or business it’s imperative to create excitement and provide momentum for consumers. This can only happen if you develop engaging marketing initiatives. It’s always the better ideas that require some measure of risk. However any marketing program, from a sweepstakes to an annual event comes with risk. But remember, it’s a calculated risk.

Not so long ago, consumers anticipated the Christmas season simply because the cosmetic counters in department stores would become jam-packed with great manufacturer offers and value-add packages. Consumers would wait to purchase their “product needs”, just to make sure they took advantage of the best value. Eventually cosmetic manufacturers’ caught on to this and now tier their giveaways or value offers throughout the year.

For those of us in Canada, Tim Hortons’ “Roll up the rim to win” is a reoccurring campaign. The first year it was launched was 1986. Now granted it has evolved and grown. For the first decade, when it was continuing to evolve, I believe it was exciting – even the advertising slogan was fantastic. Now, decades later they are still running it. And every year my reaction is, “Oh, that again”. Mind you, I’m sure that the reaction of the winners is quite different! But I would really like to know the uptake of this promotion after all these years. Is it still garnering the same results? Maybe the objective has also evolved? Perhaps it now acts as a reward program to existing consumers rather than one to increase trial?

Marketing complacency is a result of marketers pressing the autopilot button.

Think about what the premise is of any marketing promotion or advertising campaign. When a new marketing program is launched, it’s the result of many different factors. These include current market conditions, competitive landscape, creative brainstorming, research and timing – to name only a few. Consider this: Doing the same thing year after year may result in missing out on the next big idea that could make a huge impact for your brand or business.

When the same successful campaign is repeated over and over, the impact becomes less and less – or worse yet, expected by consumers. Many programs when repeated on an annual basis end up subsidizing sales, not increasing them. The result is that what was once fresh and exciting becomes old news. When marketing complacency sets in, there’s no win for the brand or business.

What do you think?