IS YOUR MARKETING HALF-EMPTY OR HALF-FULL?
No, I’m not asking how you might view the bottle of Chivas. Instead, I’m raising the question regarding how you see your marketing. Is it half-empty or half-full?
Every marketer I ask professes that it is more than half-full. No one will turn the finger on themselves and proclaim their marketing is half-empty. We believe we are doing the right things in the right way. We’re confident our marketing matters, and it’s making a difference, despite not having a line-of-sight impact on sales and market share nor knowing its ROI (Return on Investment). Really?
If we were to ask marketers if they perceive things—anything and everything—as half-empty or half-full, I suspect the vast majority would claim to be in the half-full camp. We associate those that see things as half-empty with whiners, chronic complainers, people with little imagination, nay-sayers, kill-joys—need I say more.
Yet, these same marketers perceive the work of other marketers, their competitors, the sales force, ad agencies, R&D, etc., as half-empty. Isn’t that curious!?!
On the other hand, we judge those that claim to perceive things as half-full—anything and everything—as contributors, creative thinkers, problem solvers, can-do people, team players, and so forth. Seeing things as half-full starts with the premise that there is promise in its base, which can be made better by filling the bottle, or proverbial glass. We’re all for it in theory but not always in practice.
But is there truly a difference about whether you see the bottle or glass half-empty or half-full? Well, according to Donald Kaberuka, the cautious optimist economist, “I’m not interested in whether the glass is half empty or half full. I’m interested in figuring out how to fill the glass.”
Bravo, Mr. Kaberuka. We come to the crux of this musing. We can be successful with our marketing or any issue, regardless of whether we see the glass as half-empty or half-full, providing we work to change the output—making it better or more productive.
The Chivas ad notes that we should be satisfied with half-empty or half-full. The perspective depends upon whose bottle it is—your neighbors or yours. The satisfaction will be the same. The philosophy we marketers should consider is treating our marketing the same way, as an opportunity to do something smart to capitalize on our view, either shortfalls (half-empty) or opportunities (half-full), to make our marketing more effective.
We need to be discontent and add value, regardless of whether we view our marketing as half-empty, half-full, or damn good? We should be discontent and act if we:
- Can’t trace strategies and tactics directly to (line-of-sight) impacting sales and market share.
- Don’t track or are experiencing declining ROI.
- Don’t have a Brand Positioning Strategy, or if we don’t know our competitors’ BPS, or if we find ours is no different from theirs.
- Go too broad with our target customer (like in targeting the world) such that we obfuscate or dilute our marketing and sales efforts, draining precious resources that are spread too thin to make an impact.
- We aren’t identifying who isn’t part of our target within the category or segment we compete.
- Aren’t growing faster than our category or segment.
- Employ “unsights” for “legitimate and productive insights,” thus failing to impact brand preference and achieving target goals.
- Are not achieving our plan.
- Lack relevant and meaningful differentiation of anything and everything (e.g., Brand Idea, BPS, target customer, messaging, benefit promise, etc.) regarding our brand.
- Underestimate our competition.
- Overstate our company’s capabilities.
- Don’t target and measure changes in customer behaviors.
- Don’t have a dashboard to follow, provide an early indication, and manage the brand’s health.
- Focus on the tangible product, ignoring the intangibles.
- Sell the product versus the brand experience.
- Stick with communications (brand messaging) that don’t cut through the clutter and resonate with target customers to motivate preference and purchasing.
- Are content with doing same-o, same-o, as we’ve always done, and our category continues to do.
- Don’t know our market share.
- Don’t know the reason for trier-rejectors or defectors from our brand.
- Lack BIG, bold ideas.
- Don’t have a proven pipeline of product improvements, new indications, new products, and marketing ideas.
- Employ eminence-based versus evidenced-based marketing—among others.
Half-full or half-empty? The critical point is not to be satisfied with either. Resist contentment. Do the work. Make your marketing matter more.
Proposed Action(s) for Implementation (Crossing the chasm from learning to impact)
- Review the listing above and identify the one most in need of work (half-empty) or where you see the best opportunity (half-full) to make your marketing matter more.
- Get working to resolve the problem (half-empty) or exploit the opportunity (half-full).
If you found this article helpful, please encourage your team to subscribe to and read Brand Development Network International blogs DISPATCHES and Marketing Matters. They provide thought-provoking information that can help bolster your team’s performance. All it takes is to register at www.bdn-intl.com
Are you interested in making your marketing matter even more? Please read my most recent book, AVOIDING CRITICAL MARKETING ERRORS: How to Go from Dumb to Smart Marketing. Learn more here: http://bdn-intl.com/avoiding-critical-marketing-errors It will help lead you to discover where your marketing may be half-empty or half-full. Importantly it suggests actions you can take to make your marketing matter even more.
Peace and best wishes,