Are You Marketing in a Vacuum?

by Mistina Picciano on April 1, 2011

Yesterday, driving to a client meeting, I saw a car in one of those promotional wrappers. This one caught my eye not only because of the bright red color, but also because it was advertising a home goods store where I used to shop.

The store in my hometown had closed, and I feared they had gone out of business. The cute red car let me know they were still selling their beautiful, affordable housewares.

Two minutes online, and I found out they have a new location 10 minutes away (although they’re relocating again).

This is proof that marketing works, right?

Give me a clue

The car wrap featured the company name and tagline prominently on the rear window, but no other information or call to action. If I hadn’t been familiar with the store and products, I might not have figured out what they sold.

As it is,  I’m not sure what they hoped to achieve with the ad.

  • Did they want me to visit the website? A web address would have been nice.
  • Did they want me to call? Tough when you’re driving, but okay if the car is in a parking lot.
  • Did they want me to visit the store? Include a store location and tell me to stop by. (Better yet, offer me a discount if I mention the car.)

Don‘t punish initiative

I liked the store and its products, so I went online to check them out. Here’s what I found:

  • The website has been flagged by Google as a possible attack site, with a button that reads “Get me out of here!”
  • A Facebook page with four company comments since January 2011, including a response to a Fan post in September 2010.
  • Announcements about a new location, followed by news that the location is changing yet again.

Frankly, my inquiries—made with the intention to check out their inventory and make a purchase—have left me feeling even less comfortable about the company’s viability. For all I know, they’ve already closed their doors.

What‘s your strategy?

Before you spend your hard-earned dollars on sales or marketing, invest some time to make sure you’re spending it wisely. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are my clients/customers?
  • Where are they and how can I reach them?
  • What action do I want them to take?
  • Why will they take that action?
  • How can I encourage them to act?

Clearly, this example oversimplifies the matter, but you get the point: Before you decide to put your brand on a car or to launch a company blog, think about how—or if—that tactic will support your business strategy.

And if you need some help,  send us an email or give us a call.

Do you have any examples of marketing campaigns that don‘t quite hit the mark?  Please share below.

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