I transitioned from being a journalist into a marketer 25 years ago. I chose that route because marketing excited me. It was an integrated world of research, planning, creativity, and problem-solving. To be successful, it demanded that you think strategically and find creative and distinctive ways to get noticed and engage your target audience.
Being a great marketer in the pre-digital world meant being a great strategist. As Steve Tobak once wrote, “Whether it’s market segmentation, product positioning, customer traction, communications or channel development, marketing success always comes down to having a better strategy than the competition. You don’t necessarily have to be first to market, higher performance, or lower cost. You just have to be better in ways that are meaningful to customers. That is what translates into market share, revenue growth, and profits.”
In a world where content is king, tweets, likes and followers equate to loyalty and technology attempts to automate marketing, I just don’t see strategy as a driver. What I see most often is a list of tasks with little boxes beside them – the evil that is “Check the Box” Marketing. It rears its ugly head as a series of dots on a simple calendar – each dot color-coded to represent a task that needs to be checked off –
- Send an email
- Update your social sites
- Create an ebook
- Push out a landing page
- Send sales 300 leads
- Launch a nurture campaign
- Add content to the website
- Pull a website traffic report
Check the Box Marketing Does Not Work
Marketing isn’t about checking boxes. Marketing requires more than just going through the motions. A check the box approach to marketing accomplishes only one thing – it limits your ability to win and keep customers. There has to be form, consistency, process and a sense of how these individual tasks are going to accomplish a longer-term goal.
It has to be “intentional.”
I understand that the world of marketing and sales today is dynamic, responsive and fluid. However, blasting and interrupting people with disjointed messaging and one-off tactics isn’t the solution.
How about we agree that the creation of a marketing and sales strategy in its purest form – a process that can allow an organization to concentrate its marketing and sales resources on the optimal opportunities with the goals of increasing sales and achieving a sustainable competitive advantage – is the first step towards stopping the evil that is “check the box marketing.”
A defined marketing and sales strategy doesn’t have to be static. It will evolve with your prospects, customers, company and the marketplace. But it will also provide the form and consistency necessary to achieve specific business goals, instead of the goal of checking off tasks for the day, week and month.