Marketing Constipation

I asked one of my long-time friends, mentors and honestly, the best writer I have ever met, Mark Zweig, to write a quick message about marketing planning. Within five minutes, on his BlackBerry (yes, he still uses one), he sent me the below.


The big problem with marketing planning is that rarely do the individual or individuals charged with developing it know what the overall business plan for the organization is. It either doesn’t exist–or, in the case of many small, privately-held companies, the owners don’t want to share it. So, in essence, you’re flying blind.

Another big issue is that many times too many people are allowed to have input to it and/or have veto rights over anything in the plan. That cannot be the case or the whole process gets constipated. One person should have ultimate authority to say “yay” or “nay” to everything in the plan.

Mark C. Zweig, Chairman and CEO

Content Marketing Fakers

fakersContent marketing is no easy task.

Over the years, I have seen many agencies and firms title themselves. Titles such as:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Markerters
  • Brand Agency
  • Shopper Marketing
  • Creative Agency

The titles have never really been the issue, its the experience behind their label that is the issue. In such a competitive marketing agency landscape, these distinctions could be absorbed without much consequence, as many professionals knew just enough to get away with average results.

I’m concerned, however, about agencies that describe themselves as content marketers. Why is this different? Here are a few reasons:

  • Content marketing requires extensive experience in three very complicated areas: marketing, advertising and publishing. Unless a firm has such deep understanding, they are faking content marketing. 
  • Content marketing requires a wide range of knowledge in many different platforms or channels. Being a web design company one week, then a content marketing company the next week simply won’t fly. 
  • Content marketing requires content production. Without extensive experience in professional writing skills, valuable content cannot be produced. It’s so simple, but so often overlooked. Hiring a journalist is not going to cut it. Content writing requires someone that gets the first point above: marketing, advertising and publishing. Not an easy person to find. 

The concern is that brands/companies do not recognize the complexity of content marketing. Disguised in pretty graphics or digital marketing experience, many clients and campaigns are doomed to suffer through agencies that simply add titles. The consequences are simply too serious to miss the mark when it comes to content marketing.

Marketing Analysis Paralysis

The other day, I a client of mine called that I haven’t spoken with in five years. She is such a wonderful person and a successful real estate agent. Although she has had some success with her marketing, she was frustrated with marketing in general.

Reason: analysis paralysis. I run across this with about every consultation. So many channels to choose from, so many options, so many suggestions and so much data that it leaves even the most savvy business person staring at a chaotic, never ending hole of opportunities.
Marketing today is as much of what not to do as it is what to do. My client, like so many others, either end up spending too much money, spreading too thin or simply frustrated and quitting.
Answer: relax, sit back, discover what you are naturally good at, make a list of all the marketing you have done and consult with a trusted advisor to audit your efforts.
A major key point to this exercise is to get an objective, professional and trusted opinion. Similar to an attorney or doctor, an objective opinion will help sort through the cloud of confusion. I always tell clients, my most difficult client is myself, because everything is so subjective.
We have a meeting coming up in the next week or so, and I already know much of what my advice will be for her. Since her budget is not currently adequate for full service strategy and execution with WhyteSpyder, she needs to initiate specific projects and campaigns that she can afford, then do what she is good at: setting appointments, showing properties and closing deals.
One major initiative is her website. A website is so critical these days. It must have a purpose, which in this case is converting visitors into leads. Without a useful website, all other efforts will never reach their full potential.
Another effort will include leveraging the one existing effort that has worked. She needs to maximize this opportunity and expand on it. Though this seems obvious, in too many casis I have witnessed clients not doing more of what is working because they spend so much energy and dollars trying to everything else. When they try to do everything for everyone, they are too busy to even analyze what has worked.
Two other efforts will include PPC and email marketing. With a limited budget, these two direct marketing efforts are cost controllable, immediate, personable, data-filled and reactive. They also bring in interested visitors to the site versus taking a shotgun approach at an entire market.
Stay tuned as we move forward on this one. Although this is a small business case study, it’s very much applicable to all business sizes. Every business, and I mean every business, all shapes and sizes, face the exact same issue – just on different scales.

What marketing analysis paralysis experience have you had lately? What’s your marketing frustration? Comment below, I would enjoy hearing from you.

Eric Howerton, WhyteSpyder

Senior Marketing Consultant
479-200-9342 m