We all know prevention is better than cure, so how can you avoid making ineffective marketing decisions?

Here are five easy ways to spot the no-nos early on and put your energy into the ideas that will work:

1. First stop? Don’t make any rash decisions

In our team, we have this phrase: “bounce it around”. Essentially just throwing around some ideas and gathering feedback in a really informal, ‘no idea is a bad idea’, way. Creativity ensues and it’s resulted in some of our best ideas and decisions. That said, however, it pays to be wary of the temptation to try everything at once, or move onto the next idea prematurely. What seems like a great idea one day can the next morning, become a ‘what was I thinking’ moment. Sit on an idea for a little while, play with it, and bounce it around some more before leaping headfirst into the next.

2. Next up – keep your objective at the forefront

It’s all too easy to get carried away with detail - be it searching in vain for the perfect synonym or debating the merits of cornflower blue v sapphire blue. This is, however, a sure fire way to deviate from your initial objective and lose sight of what it is you actually want to achieve. Combat this by beginning each meeting with a reminder of your original brief – print it and stick it on the wall if you have to!

3. Now, let’s make like a banana and split

There’s no excuse not to carry out split tests nowadays. If you think something can be improved on, test it, and then test it some more. ‘Personalised marketing at scale’ is one of the latest digital marketing trends which cleverly enables marketers to target certain demographics with tailored messages. Essentially, it says why have a single advert when you can have several - all with relevant copy, imagery or videos for a particular audience? Coca Cola made the most of this technique at the Super Bowl last year. Using a video advert, it segmented its Facebook audience and managed to reach different consumers with altered thumbnails and copy tailored to the groups’ interests and profiles.

4. Be ‘on brand’

Consistency is key to any marketing plan so steer clear of ‘off the wall’ ideas that don’t sit well with your brand. If your gut tells you it’s not right, then don’t do it.

We loved the recent campaign called ’24 hours of joy’ from fast food giant McDonalds. It was the company’s biggest international marketing drive since the ‘I’m lovin’ it’ campaign and saw McDonalds treat customers, in 24 cities across the world, to a host of rewards. These ranged from secret gigs with A-list artists to pyjama parties and free breakfasts. Although unique, the campaign was certainly on brand, as Deborah Wahl, McDonald's chief marketing officer explains: “...each day we aspire to serve joy to millions of people. Today, we're bringing the world together in a fun, positive way like only McDonald's can." Different, yes, but simple, effective, and in tune with their existing messaging.

5. Learn from others

Chances are you’ve been to an industry event or conference where you’ve seen some pretty good examples of what not to do. Remember these and cast to memory why they didn’t work so you can avoid making the same mistakes. The same applies to the wider world. You might remember the recent Coors Light ‘Search and Rescue’ campaign, for instance, which aimed to ‘rescue’ Canadians from a boring summer by hiding prize-filled briefcases all over the country. A well-intentioned idea, but things didn’t quite go to plan when a police officer in Toronto noticed one of the cases attached to a railing and froze the city’s traffic to investigate. Understandably, this didn’t go down too well with some of the city’s commuters trying to make their way home from work, and as a result Coors ended up with a social media backlash on its hands.


By Hannah Stringer, Head of Marketing at Moneypenny

How do you avoid making mistakes with your marketing efforts? Share your tips below! 

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