Sometimes I dream (or recollect with fondness) my magic moments of marketing success. The presentation that worked wonderfully — and resulted in instant orders; the publicity that resulted in the phone virtually ringing off the hook, with people eager (even desperate) to prove me with cash; even the first issue of my first publication, which resulted in some controversy — and caused several advertisers to say “sign me up” for ongoing contracts. (In fact, I sometimes wonder if that bit of beginner’s luck shaped my attitude and focus towards business in the years that have followed.)
Of course, not everything has worked so well, and some things I thought worked brilliantly, only continued for a while before the magic disappeared and our revenues started sliding. For example, we had an “aha” moment when we realized the power of supplier-chain relationships in the business-to-business marketing space; if you can set up an initiative where the actual advertiser’s best clients endorse you, you can extract much in the way of sales, without much effort. (The idea works well enough but has been over-used by far too many publishers, and now advertisers are much more cautious about the story.)
In truth, while magic moments can provide inspiration and clues about what works best, they are difficult to sustain and replicate. Certainly, for example, some marketers have the knack for effective publicity. I know of one who continues to send me really effective marketing emails. But their effect diminishes over time, once you realize the back-story of the marketer. At some point, you know the story behind the story, and decide that enough is enough; you aren’t going to give the guy more free press.
We all know, of course, the most sustainable successful marketing practices: Under-promise, over-deliver, and create a circumstance where your clients are so happy with your service/value that they will (without prompting even) deliver enthusiastic testimonials about your business. To some extent, with no lack of modesty, this is how our business survived a crisis about five years ago, when we went beyond implementing marketing methodologies to sharing them; when we went beyond paying lip service to community involvement and support, to actively engaging with our communities.
In the end, all of the marketing magic moments, the tricks, techniques and approaches to generating effective results, only work effectively if the underlying business and its relationships are healthy. So when I seek to share/give marketing advice, I always look behind the curtains. I want to know if the business’s intended clients will really leave the experience feeling they are genuinely enthusiastic about their experience.