Yesterday, I offered a three-level simplified construction marketing media selection success program. The inverse is the what-not-to-do list. Here, in fact, the story is a little more tricky. After all, in my original three levels of “do” I built in a “anything you like” level (the third) based on thoughtful research, your interests and values and your clients’ demographics. So, in these conditions, some of the marketing methods I generally think are a waste of money (like the Yellow Pages or consumer-focused Internet leads services) may be valid choices for your business. In these situations, the issue is less the media and more how you choose it.
So, rather than give you red flag “don’t do it” answers, I’ll give you some yellow flags to consider when you are making your decisions.
If you haven’t planned it and the marketing option is not based on existing (current) client relationships or a proper referral or recommendation, be wary.
Here I’m referring to dialing for dollars telemarketing or spam email proposals, primarily. Some may indeed have merit but you need to be cautious if the communication doesn’t have any correlation with the business you already know/have. (Of course some telemarketers and sales representatives know how to play the relationship game so it sounds like they have a relationship when they really don’t — sometimes you need to use some “gut feel” if the caller or email seems just a little too out-of-the-blue perfect in answering these concerns.)
These observations also provide an inverse clue for success if you are a sales representative. You need to find a legitimate way to establish the relationship/cnnection before you get your foot in the door with many successful business people, including me. It can be done but blindly calling through lists of business owners and decision-makers probably will result in less-than-perfect results.
You should be extra cautious when you are spending large amounts of money on irreversible commitments.
This is why I crap on the Yellow Pages so often; the idea of signing an irreversible year-long contract for an unchangeable ad may have made some sense when the Yellow Pages were one of the only games in town, but now this is a truly questionable expense (unless you have really done your research or you are using the Yellow Pages currently and the media works for your business.)
Now, of course, the interesting other side to this avoid recommendation is that if you have done your research, have the budget and are confident of your media potential, going down this irreversible road could make real sense because your rational competitors won’t dare follow you and those who do will probably be blown away by failure because they don’t see the hidden and careful thought that went behind your decision.
You jump from one fad to another, one gimmick to the next, and never give yourself enough time to really understand what is happening.
I see this trait from time to time and it saddens me. You might, for example, heed my advice from yesterday and spend money and time building your web site, and then (it seems) nothing happens. So you simply give up, and let it languish. Sooner, rather than later, your site is outdated and you think you’ve just wasted your money and time.
The answer to this is to think carefully, build your budget and unless some obvious reason exists to change your direction (and yes, there can be good reasons), to stay the course and keep your commitments.
One approach is to focus time rather than money and allocate your capacities accordingly. For example, I have a six month project to become comfortable with video and audio podcasting and live broadcasting. I expect my complete equipment and resources budget for the initiative will be under $1,000.00 but equally I know if I just spend the money on equipment and software and don’t build a regular action item/activity, that money will just go to dust. So I’ve set a regular 2 p.m. Thursday EST half hour livecast to explore and learn the techniques I need to know. I don’t hide this work — you are welcome to attend — but equally I don’t want or expect a large audience because of all of the glitches and problems I’m experiencing. However, within half a year, I’ll indeed know more than most people about these methodologies and probably will turn video/audio into a significant marketing resource.
There you are. The “avoids” are more actions and approaches than specific media — and they are built within the cautious framework that sometimes going against the grain (and my advice) makes sense. Just be thoughtful and careful when your marketing appears to be trending in these do-not-do directions.