Boring Marketing Still Works

by Matt Heinz

Boring Marketing Still WorksIf your marketing wins an award for creativity, that’s pretty cool. If you test a cutting-edge new technology or channel, please let us know how it goes. If you’re constantly testing new, innovative ideas and offers and strategies, you’re doing the right thing.

But you don’t get paid for awards. You don’t make money for staying on the bleeding edge. And you don’t close more business simply by pushing new ideas into the market.

If “tried and true” marketing didn’t work anymore, we’d just call it “tried.” I’m OK with using the same marketing strategies and tactics if they still work.

Bottom line, we’re all in it to close business. To connect buyers with something they need (and ideally what we’re selling). I don’t need innovative marketing to do that, I just need effective marketing to do that.

The best book on marketing I read last year was written in 1923. If you read it without paying attention to the publish date (and perhaps some of the dated prose), you’d think it’s just as relevant today – to digital marketing channels, social media, direct response marketing, effective sales techniques and more.

I raise this point because I’ve been in a few discussions lately that have been based on the notion that “we’re still doing the same thing, and need to do something new.” The second part of that statement I will almost universally agree with. It’s always a good idea to keep testing, keep trying to improve performance, apply a new technique or idea or channel to your business or sales process.

But the notion that you have to do this primarily because you’ve been doing the same thing for too long ignores whether or not that “same thing” is still effective.

I worked at a company where we used the same 15-second direct-response television ad for four years. It was far and away our best-performing ad. Half our team hated it. They wanted something new. And we tested new ads fairly consistently. But that one ad continued to perform better than anything else.

We didn’t replace it because we were bored with it. We kept it because it worked.

One final point on this. As you innovate and test new ideas, don’t forget about or ignore the fundamentals. This includes having reporting systems in place before a campaign launches, lead distribution and follow-up systems ready for your sales team (including custom messaging and email templates), and a disposition process for your sales team to separate the near-term prospects from those that need more nurturing.

The back-end sales & marketing systems aren’t as sexy as your Facebook campaign, your trade show giveaway or your Foursquare badges. But those fundamentals are critical to closing business. And that is very sexy.


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Matt HeinzMatt Heinz is principal at Heinz Marketing, a sales & marketing consulting firm helping businesses increase customers and revenue. Contact Matt at matt@heinzmarketing.com or visit www.heinzmarketing.com.

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  1. I agree Matt. The fundamentals cannot be forgotten since the oldest form of marketing has always worked. I’m currently using referral marketing for my shop that uses a creative business card. In a way though, all new types of marketing has their basis to marketing done in the 1920’s.

  2. I know what you mean about the producers of the ad or content getting bored, and confusing that with the audience getting board.

    Some years ago I was a writer/director for a company that produced industrial video — training, internal communications, pronouncements from the CEO, etc. It was pretty common to start those with a montage of shots showing front-line employees on the job, a sampling of various sites and functions within the client company.

    One day the video editor, who was also a partner in the production company, announced there would be no more montages because … he was sick of doing them. It didn’t matter that the clients loved them. The partner/editor could not see that even though all the montages looked the same to him, they were unique to each company, and clients loved seeing their own people in the show.

    (Oh, and that little production company wasn’t around for all that long — too much thinking about what the partners liked, not enough thinking about what the customers liked.)

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