Marketing complexity’s perils: How do we overcome them?

marketing complexity
How do you integrate and manage most effectively the various online and conventional media communications options?
marketing complexity
How do you integrate and manage most effectively the various online and conventional media communications options?

I may not be exhibiting much brilliance in writing in this marketing ideas blog about problems with my own business marketing strategies. I mean, surely someone who has written books on the topic and has been in business for more than 25 years should know better than to say: “I don’t know” but that is the perplexing challenge here.

Media businesses, especially traditional print and broadcast organizations which relied on advertising and subscription sales for their revenues, have been under increasing pressure from new media, initially the web, then search engines, and more recently social media. Each of the?new services have distinctive advantages, especially in immediacy and targeting — coupled with sometimes astronomically lower pricing structures. Online and social media advertising can be dirt cheap — though advertisers have discovered it is becoming harder than before to score the “sure thing” success as a combination of competition and fraud cloud the picture. (Social media results have been skewered by fake or paid-for “likes” and pay-per-click advertisers, if they are not careful, discover their ads appear on useless sites or ones where fraud rings are clicking the ads to generate revenue — but not because clients are truly interested in the products or services.)

Nevertheless, pricing within the online world can be upwards as a couple of orders of magnitude (that’s right, about 1/10oth) less expensive in a “cost per thousand” audience/readership metric. Many businesses accordingly are diverting their advertising expenses from conventional media to the new media, and seeking to offset the declining raw results quality within new media by paying for more expensive creative and consulting/public relations and communication services.

This is because these advertiser have discovered that a “do it yourself” approach to integrated multi-media purchases really requires quite a lot of expertise and co-ordination of many moving parts and generally doesn’t work so well.

So how have conventional media outlets responded? They’ve created new packages of digital and print/broadcast services that purportedly combine the best of both worlds. You might pay the same as you would for the old “print” advertising, but now receive more value. This of course is good for the advertisers and can be a life-saver for publishers seeking to avert the declining revenue from traditional sources.

But things don’t always work as planned. I’ve been working on a number of integration concepts for the past few years and have discovered real challenges in achieving consistency and systematization to create the value proposition; and, further, in “selling” it, both internally within my own business, and to potential clients.

The problem relates to the lack of simplicity, and a paucity of proven success-story examples.

This problem isn’t our businesses’ alone. Yesterday, another publisher sent me their comprehensive media guide and rate kit for multi-media business-to-business services. The page-after-page of options both boggled my mind and confused me; the web interface where the company invited me to request the media kit did not inspire confidence that it had proven it truly knew what it was doing. I thought: “If I’m in the publishing business and am confused by this stuff, how can we truly explain it to our clients?”

The answer may be to go back to the drawing board and really simplify things — or it might be to see things from a more patient, holistic perspective, perhaps through strategic alliances with relevant consultants and agencies. However, I’m reminded that sometimes complexity makes sense but simplicity usually sells more effectively. I have work to do to make sense of everything here.

If you’ve been struggling with these issues/challenges and would like to bounce off some of your own thoughts, or discuss them with me, please feel free to email me at We could set up a phone or Skype conversation to explore the challenges.

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