Marketing – it’s elementary dear Watson

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“Elementary, my dear Watson”.

It’s one of the phrases which springs to mind when thinking of Sherlock Holmes. And yet there’s a snag.

Holmes never said these actual words in the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

One of those examples where the general perception is that something is true or correct – when it is, in fact, not.

The same could be said about marketing.

Many people think it’s elementary. Simple. Quick. Easy. The path to instant wealth and riches.

It’s no surprise that myths and fantasy have emerged over the years.

People accepting what friends say on Facebook about the latest marketing fad with no challenge or checking.

People believing they have to be on this, be on that, do this, do that on Social Media. Otherwise their business is doomed to fail.

People thinking they know about brands and branding – when the real-world truth would force them to question EVERYTHING they ‘know’ or have been told on the topic.

People seeking the magic bullet which will solve all their marketing woes. It doesn’t exist. Like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow it’s a beautiful story. But that’s all it is. A tale.

People throwing thousands, in cases tens of thousands, on gurus and so-called experts. Lapping up ‘wisdom’ from countless programmes, courses, workshops and the rest. All with little or no return.

People taking the cheap and easy options – formulas and templates. Left wondering why these do not yield premium-style results.

It’s not just entrepreneurs and business owners who succumb to the chatter. A glance at many of the mail and email messages sent by some of the big name brands shows that the lack of common sense in marketing is all too common.

No wonder so many businesses fail.

In a sense, marketing is elementary.

There are some basics. If you put those into practice consistently well the chances are you will do at least OK and more than likely better.

You’ll be ahead of the pack, for sure.

Social Media the key to successful marketing? The masses think yes.

Those in the know say No.

Formulas guarantee success? The masses think yes.

Those who understand the game say ‘Maybe’. It depends what you mean by formula. A better word might be system or process.

Branding is critical? The masses think yes.

The scientific view agrees branding is important – but crucially says most businesses misunderstand how it works.

The clearest way to demonstrate that is to ask you how you’d respond to the following questions:

True or False?…

  • Differentiating a brand is a vital marketing task
  • Loyalty figures reflect the strength, not size, of a brand
  • Keeping a customer or client is cheaper than acquiring one
  • Price promotions increase market penetration, not loyalty
  • Who a brand competes with depends on the positioning of the brand’s image
  • Mass marketing is no longer competitive
  • Buyers have a special reason to buy a particular brand
  • Twenty per cent of a brand’s customers generate at least 80 per cent of its sales

Your answers will reveal how much research you’ve done into branding. What matters and what does not matter.

I’m willing to bet most marketers do not have a clue what’s true and what’s false.

Because marketing is elementary, isn’t it?

So easy.

The more I write. The more I critique. The more I provide strategic direction for clients…

The more I discover the gaps between what a business wants to achieve and its ability to deliver the outcomes on its current course.

Gaps in the marketing.

Gaps in the thinking and strategy.

Gaps in the copy – the words used to send the message.

Which leaves people with a simple decision.

Carry on with something that is not working – or not working well.

Or do something different.

Change the marketing. Change the strategy. Change the copy.

When you speak to some people you would think this IS rocket science.

But, as Sherlock might say.

“Marketing, it’s elementary” (aside to Watson, “…when you know what you’re doing, eh Watson”).

Is your business at decision time?

If so, you know what to do.

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