Are You In Control of Your Marketing?

control marketing

There is more information to you right now than at any time before in human history. This is a great thing but it also comes with some responsibility. With so much information you have to sift through it to determine what is right for you. That can be difficult.

Not every piece of advice that you see is going be right for you. I write this blog as an informational resource. It’s meant to answer questions you may have and introduce you to ideas that may not have thought about. There isn’t an absolute answer to anything. Most things aren’t black and white but many shades of grey.

One of the worst and best answers that I often give is: it depends.

I feel bad when I say it but the truth is what is good for one client isn’t necessarily good for another client. There are many factors to consider including what industry you are in, who your audience, and where they are at.

Unfortunately, sometimes decisions aren’t made for the right reasons. The obvious problem with this is they could backfire. The more subtle issue is that you’re losing control of your marketing and public relations efforts.

When I was in college I was in a class where we talked about systems. We create systems to make our lives easier but something odd can happen if you’re not careful. You could end up making decisions based on the system. Instead of the system being a tool that you use, you act out of what would be best within the system. In other words, the system is controlling you instead of you controlling it.

What’s The Reason?

It’s easy to take action. I’ve talked about this before. In an effort to feel like you are doing something you jump right to tactics instead of creating a strategic plan. If you aren’t going the right direction the action is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

This is what a strategic plan helps to solve. It takes into account your business situation and then forces you to create goals, a strategy, objectives, and tactics (among other things).

It’s only when you know where you’re going that you can start to entertain how you are going to get there.

It works this way with advice as well. You can’t determine what advice is best if you’re not sure you want to be.

Your goals are your reason so be clear on what they are. Acting without goals will mean that you are not in control of your marketing and public relations efforts and are acting based on chance.

Be a Scrutinizer

Everything deserves some scrutiny. Not for the sake of being argumentative but for the sake of determining if it’s right for you. Everything has positive and negative aspects and you need to determine what they are.

I love playing devil’s advocate. I’ll even do it sometimes when I agree with something. It forces me and the person I’m talking with to give a coherent explanation. What if I’m wrong? What if they’re wrong? What if we are both wrong? If you blindly accept ideas (which I’ve done in the past), you may not be making the best decision.

My hope is that when you read this blog, you’re truly thinking about what I’m saying. I’d rather you think about it and how it might work (or not work) for you than to take everything I say and never question it.

If we were sitting in the same room talking (or on a video call) we would talk about the options and their pros and cons. My goal isn’t to sell you on a particular tactic or set of tactics. My goal is to help you get to where to need to be. That includes a conversation that includes the pros and cons so we can determine what is right for you.

Obviously, the big difference is that we aren’t having that conversation when you read a blog post.

If you employ everything I wrote about you wouldn’t be in control of your marketing and public relations. I would. Being that we have probably never spoken and I know nothing about your business and it’s challenges, this wouldn’t be a good thing.

I’ve been guilty of this in the past. I’ve run off and done things because the person or people who provided me some information via a conversation, blog, podcast, or vlog was really smart and had a track record of success.

The issue wasn’t that the information that was given was bad. The issue was I didn’t think it through. I accepted it blindly without proper consideration and in doing so ceded control of my actions. When that happens, it’s usually a mixed bag at best.

But My Competitor Is Doing It

There is also the issue of doing something because a competitor is doing it. This is not to say you should be willfully ignorant of what your competitors are doing. You should be doing competitor research.

However, if everything you do is a reaction to your competitors then you don’t have control of your marketing and public relations efforts. Do you really want your competitors to dictate what you do and where you’re doing it? If you chose to take this route, they would be controlling your marketing and public relations efforts. Not good.

Just because they are doing something doesn’t mean it’s working. Unless you have hacked their systems or have a spy on the inside, you don’t know what the return on investment is.

Don’t do something only because a competitor is doing it. You will be letting them dictate your efforts. Do your research and make the best decision based on your goals.

Be Everywhere…Or Maybe Not

There is a certain piece of advice that I see from time to time. That advice is that you need to be everywhere. I’ve heard this from some smart people. The problem is that it’s not particularly strategic.

The other problem is that people buy into it. Too often I talk to prospects and clients who feel they need to be everywhere and honestly, in most cases, this is more of a problem than a solution.

Think of what it means to be everywhere. Let’s look at this from a shared (social) media perspective. You would need to be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, Tik Tok, Tumblr, Reddit, Quora, and MySpace (yes, it’s still around). That’s not a complete list but you get the idea.

When I see, “be on every channel”, I can’t help but think of the Mad Men era where the goal was to reach as many people as possible. Back then channels were limited to television, radio, and print. You have so many more options now so being everywhere isn’t a very good strategy anymore.

You don’t need to reach everybody, you just need to reach the people who are interested in what you are selling.

I know all those social platforms don’t have a cost to join but guess what…

Nothing is Free

When we think of the cost of something we typically think in terms of money. If you think in those terms you’re missing the bigger picture because the truth is that everything has a cost to it.

The time spent doing something is time you’re not spending doing something else. There are only so many hours in the day. As the saying goes, time is money.

You should always be asking these questions:

  • How will this help me?
  • What’s the cost both in money and time?
  • What does success look like?
  • How am I measuring so I guess the return on the investment?

Do Your Research

At the end of the day, you own what you do. It doesn’t matter whether you did it without consideration. If you read my blog and incorporate something that I talk about without the proper consideration and it doesn’t work, it has zero impact on me. It has a lot of impact on you.

Do your research. Have the conversations you need to have to determine what marketing and public relations efforts are best for you. Never be afraid to ask questions.

Nothing is for sure and there is always testing involved but you will get better results faster if you start in the right place to begin with.

*Image by Marc Rickertsen from Pixabay

Shane Carpenter
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