Is more choice always better when it comes to marketing strategies and tactics?
Choice as luxury.
In the 1980’s my father had a graphic equalizer in his car. It looked really impressive. There were individual controls for what seemed like 30 frequencies. The Bee Gees or Off The Wall never sounded better to me than they did in that car. They were configured initially to amplify the bass and treble a little, and I'm not sure they were adjusted much (if at all) after that. But the idea of having that kind of choice meant that for a while, there were a lot of fancy equalizers appearing in cars.
Choice, as luxury.
Lavish EQ choice in 1981.
For a less 'mobile' and more modern-day example of an abundance of choice: a bathroom in our house has 6 potlights in the ceiling and 2 overhead mirror lights. There is an individual on/off and dimmer control for each in groups of 2. That represents a lot of lighting choice. It was that way when we moved in. We are (mostly) used to it, but sometimes I admit, I find myself pausing and as I am somehow forced to think about how to light the room. Will it be overly focused on a particular area? What lights should I activate, and at what balance? What intensity should it be to suit my current mood? And – am I actually thinking about this?
Get ready to light a small bathroom. (*Actual photo)
It requires up to 4 button presses to ‘turn off the lights’ in this room. When we’re in a hurry, we end up just mashing buttons.
More choice is not always 'better'.
People like the idea of choice. It feels like luxury. But sometimes it just adds layers between you and the desired end result. It could even frustrate your ability to achieve the result.
This got me thinking about choice when it comes to marketing and budgets.
Marketing effectively: When more isn't 'better'.
What would you do if you had infinite budget? So many choices...
Unlimited SEM, Inbound marketing of your dreams, programmatic campaigns on every platform, a perfectly aligned sales culture that embraces what you do, shock-and-awe out-of-home and television, the ability to be everywhere, all the time.
You'd probably hire the best people and vendors in every area of service, do the most on every platform, leveraging every tactic, and sit back and imagine yourself at awards dinners being feted as a proven results-driven change-agent (your new animated VR chatbot will have earned raves in the boardroom by this point).
But perhaps, in reality, it can be harder to focus or do anything well when we have endless choice.
We may be wasting time and taking focus away from the core mission.
More choice can mean more distraction, and dilution of purpose. Attention wavers. More pieces come into play that require more work to align properly. Add ever-larger teams and more managers and stakeholders to the mix, and the makings of an expensive, luxurious quagmire emerge.
Doing more with less.
Sometimes when we have less, it forces us to be more intentional, and to make sure that we are getting the most out of what’s available. I would argue that it’s better to do an amazing job on a lead-gen funnel through 2 platforms, than to spend 5 times more money on 8 platforms and never be quite sure how it's all aligning. (See related post: What does it mean to deliver creative and marketing value in 2017?)
You just might drive better business results with the smaller footprint. Because it’s not about simply making a lot of noise. That’s not value.
It’s about creating a substantive content and brand experience for your prospects, that reflects a consistently articulated value proposition.
Driving a real result.
Don’t get me wrong - I’m not glorifying being truly under-resourced. At a certain point there is a minimum threshold to be able to do something well and drive a real result. Anything underneath that level is about making sporadic marketing noise and not really getting anywhere. It’s not strategic, or worthwhile. No one wants to work like that.
And yes indeed, some companies’ marketing departments will be so well-funded and supported that they will in fact be able to have all the right people in place to make sure that all the extended efforts are well-aligned.
But that is not the reality for most companies these days, including most big brands that we’ve worked with.
So don't get hung up on not being able to leverage every tactic or platform you'd like to. Embrace fewer tactics and do them really well. You might be suprised how well it can work out for you.
You just need to get your marketing EQ calibrated, lavish or not - and you can make the music sound great.
Want to read more? Check out our impressions of Inbound 2017 in Boston.
Titan One is a creative and digital Agency helping clients across North America drive results.