Marketers need to avoid spreading good ideas too thinly

This week, my marketers set a day aside to review progress and see the first cut of our 2011 plans. This session was restricted to the marketing department only; it was the chance for us to refine our thinking and ask each other some difficult questions before taking our plans out for wider business approval.

Since marketing is often accused of being lacking in commercial awareness, I wanted to use this session to get our own house in order ahead of the wider business grilling that inevitably awaits.

It was also a useful chance for those less experienced marketers on the team to learn from more seasoned campaigners. After all, experience is a wonderful thing in marketing, particularly when it comes to understanding the real cost of getting things done.

I am sure that early on in all of our careers, we can recall a situation where we have been persuaded to spend more on something than it really ought to have cost. Usually, this involves an agency taking advantage of a keen but green spender. The beauty of my YTS-through-OAP marketing squad is that we should be able to benefit from the best of youthful exuberance with some careful management of the purse strings. Well, that’s the theory anyway.

On reflection of the team presentations, I’m convinced we have some genuinely engaging and compelling expressions for our brands that will connect with consumers, although I need more convincing on how best we are planning to spend our money behind these ideas.

I worry that my marketers are confusing the concept of integrated marketing with spread betting

As with most things in life, good management involves making choices and not trying to do a little bit of everything. I worry that my latest crop of marketers are confusing the concept of integrated marketing with spread betting.

In my feedback to them, I try to encourage a spirit of bravery. If their experiential campaign idea is that good, why don’t they back it completely and use the other funds they had allocated to PR, print and digital? I sense from the team that they think unless their brand plan touches every possible activation platform, then it cannot be a very good brand plan.

I take the polar opposite view. Winning activation ideas in marketing are hard to find. If you have been fortunate enough to crack one, then throw everything including the kitchen sink at it while you can.

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