Having a (serial) killer marketing strategy is essential to reaching your target audience and getting results for your business — although that may be easier said than done. Depending on your goals and capabilities, you may find yourself tempted to implement some bad seed strategies just because you’ve used them in the past or in an attempt to slash your budget.
While that may work for a little while, it won’t pay off in the long run. To celebrate the season for all things creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky, we’re taking a look at a few monstrous marketing strategies you should avoid if you want to be successful.
The Dracula of Direct Response: Listen to the revenues of the quarter, oh what sweet music they make.
Are you working late nights and dealing with an insatiable thirst for more revenue at all costs, even if that means bleeding your audience dry? If you’re hitting your retargeting audiences again and again and seeing performance start to die, your marketing might be leaning a bit too far into the Transylvania twist.
Bombarding your audience with aggressive and intrusive sales messaging can work in the short term, but after a while… they’re ready for an eternal silence and will do whatever they can to avoid you and your brand.
Here are a few things you should remember if you find yourself becoming a part of the fearsome fanged fellowship of overindexed direct-response marketing:
- Seduction was a big part of Dracula’s process. Like the famed vampire, you have to charm your audience before you make your move to introduce conversion into the conversation.
- If you’re always going for the jugular (e.g. an aggressive messaging strategy) as soon as you meet your audience, you’re going to run out of people who are willing to listen to what you have to say.
- Let Renfield out of the castle so he can meet people and actually make some connections; keep investing in the upper funnel to drive additional demand.
- Protect yourself from stakes, garlic, and random crucifixes by making an effort to build long-term, lasting relationships with your audience instead of just forcing them down the funnel.
The Frankenstein Fixation on the Past: It’s alive, it’s alive, it’s… what we’ve seen before.
Marketing automation might be the Igor to your Victor Frankenstein, but too often marketers look to resurrect dead marketing strategies because they’re what we know instead of pushing to keep innovating. But consumer behavior is constantly changing and the competition’s only getting more cutthroat, it’s no longer enough to just do what has worked in the past.
Trying to revive medieval marketing methodologies without leaving room for new experimentation that puts your brand at the front of the pack is not the path to capturing more market share. Make sure you’re staying ahead of the mob by diversifying your strategy and allocating at least 10% of your budget to testing new strategies and tactics.
Avoid either a sudden fiery end or a slowly collapsing windmill by:
- Keeping pace with the village or, in this case, the consumer and what they want, or else you’re likely to see some pitchforks in your future.
- Paying attention to changes and staying agile in your planning instead of just replicating what worked yesterday and expecting it to work tomorrow.
- Integrating your marketing with what your audience wants to see if you want to be part of the community, not just chased out of it.
The Mummy Mindset: Choosing quick fixes over long-term solutions is the bringer of failure.
When things get difficult or stop working, it’s tempting to bury your head in the Egyptian sand and keep doing what you’re doing. But wrapping your strategy in bandages to keep it ambulatory in the present while avoiding the harder work of figuring out an actual solution to the problem and implementing changes to your standard operating procedure is tantamount to a curse on your performance you’ll eventually regret.
As data privacy restrictions roll out and your tried-and-true sources of data narrow in scope, you need to put down the bandages and look for new data strategies. Let go of the book of dead data tactics before you crumble to dust, and remember these not-so-ancient truths:
- Cookies are dead, and no amount of organs in jars will change that.
- Read the hieroglyphics on the wall and start investing in a first-party data strategy that’s built for the future and based on an exchange of value instead of moaning and chasing what’s already gone.
- It’s good to be ambitious, but sometimes you need to step back before you can ascend to the pharaoh’s chair ahead of your competition. Taking the time to invest in a pivot that might have a performance cost in the short term but will exponentially benefit your brand in the long run can be a smart move.
The Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde Hazard: It’s such a fine line between a good strategy and a bait and switch.
Almost nothing is more irritating to potential customers than finding out they’ve been bamboozled by a brand they (thought) trusted. And, unfortunately for marketers, it’s perilously easy to make a customer feel that way.
If someone encounters your brand in one channel and your messaging is all about being helpful, adding value, and nurturing, they expect your brand to feel that way across channels and interactions. But too often brands drink the potion of aggressive selling in some channels, or fail to align an ad’s messaging with the landing page on the other side.
The customer is left feeling like your business is not all that it seems.
If you “trick” the customer and tell them what they want to hear before switching to a pushy and aggressive tone in another channel, you’re effectively turning them off to any future attempts.
Lean into a seamless customer experience (and our recommendation is to stay on the Jekyll side and focus on adding value). Make sure you:
- Align your messaging, creative, and purpose across channels
- Communicate across teams and campaigns to ensure everything is working together
- Don’t get overly aggressive and be aware of how your messaging will be received by the customer: there’s a difference between powerful, conversion-focused direct response ads and the equivalent of a used car salesman who won’t let you leave the lot without buying a car.
The Conundrum from the Black Lagoon: It’s a paradise, but nobody ever comes back
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but we’re all attracted to dazzling creative. But you need to balance your aesthetic marketing focus with great performance fundamentals or they’ll be lost in the dark without an audience.
That’s where data comes in. A performance creative strategy means using data to drive creative decisions to make sure they are getting results and setting your campaigns up for success. It’s not enough, after all, to stay deep and never be seen. That’s not what your marketing creative is for.
Instead of shooting blindly at the water with your creative, take a performance approach to testing:
- Think beyond the individual campaign level and scale tests across campaigns to get insights that apply across channels and ad types.
- Keep moving and trying new things so your data keeps flowing and your brand doesn’t get stuck in the muck.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks and be agile: we all love a leisurely swim in the lagoon, but creative risk-taking is part of the joy of performance creative.
In the end, a monster mash might sound attractive in theory, but after looking at this list I think you’ll agree… it might be better to just leave the monsters to the movies and build a marketing strategy that’s audience-first, driven by data, and focused on performance.