Shiny Object Marketing Syndrome
I get it. I really do. I am guilty of it too. You get an ad or see a story about the latest and greatest tactic in marketing and you immediately must add it into your marketing mix.  I hear this from clients all the time. We should try this. This looks like it would work for us. Yes, yes it might.  But it also might take away time, resources, and money from what will really work.  Today, we’re going to talk about Avoiding Shiny Object Marketing Syndrome (SOMS) and what to do to combat it. Marketing people are the most creative and resourceful people as a profession. By nature, our job is to get you, the customer, to want what we are selling.  My sister used to laugh at me because I wanted everything I saw on TV.  I was very susceptible to advertising messages.  But that is the power of marketing. Our job is to have your product there the moment you are ready to buy. And with digital marketing, we can almost ensure we will be.

The First Way to Combat SOMS is to Build A Marketing Platform

Let’s talk about the tools and tactics you NEED at the beginning. If you follow this blog, then you know we put more than $.02 into the marketing platform. Your marketing platform is in every proposal we write because without the foundation your marketing, no matter how great, will not convert.  So briefly, your marketing platform is the place where you want customers to make a purchase. Today, this can be your website, your Facebook or Instagram page or a simple landing page.   It is where you want your customers to use your call to action. The other element of your platform is how you’re communicating on a regular basis with your customers. This is your email system, MailChimp, Klaviyo, Privy, Constant Contact, or your social media tool like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Co-Schedule, Tweet Deck and the list goes on.  This can be another Shiny Object time. Now, depending on the sophistication of you and your team, the last piece of your marketing platform is a Customer Relationship Management solution.  Luckily for all of us, we can get email, automation, scheduling, and sales in this one place.  HubSpot is my new favorite. But I’ve had clients with Salesforce, Marketo, Zoho, SharpSpring so the choice is yours. If you want to really understand your customers and track them from the moment, they are on your site to the time they purchase AND be able to keep them as customers, you need a CRM solution. Last, you need to add Google Analytics on your site!  That is your platform and as you can see you have plenty of choices.  As a startup and small business time, resources and money are of the utmost importance so every decision you make can be make or break a business. If you are not aware that you have Shiny Object Marketing Syndrome you are probably wasting all three.

Start with Your Goals to Battle SOMS

Let’s start combating this syndrome with the end in mind. Ask yourself what are your sales goals? I say sales because every business will not be in business without it.  Marketing strategy should be aligned with those goals.  No matter what the marketing experts say, social media is not a strategy. It is a tool to get you to help your marketing success.  The primary goal with sales and marketing is to increase revenue so all marketing needs to reach that goal. Below are common marketing strategies that our activities will center around:
  1. Building brand awareness
  2. Lead generation
  3. Improve your website ratings
  4. Increase your social media presence, (add new apps to your marketing mix), engagement, and or conversion
  5. Position your company or your executive team as thought leaders
  6. Create lifetime customers

I Admit it. I have Shiny Objects Marketing Syndrome.

This is where Shiny Objects Marketing Syndrome starts to kick in.  I have a client who needs to convert customers to sales.  Her product is great, her social presence is beautiful with plenty of engagement, and we get returning and new visitors on the site. They are just not putting enough in the cart and checking out.  Our marketing strategy had to start with lead conversion.  My job is to go to my team, share the marketing challenge, get their ideas, and present to clients.  You can imagine all the ideas that flowed.  Contests, complete web redesign, SEO, and my favorite shiny object, Geo-Fencing. Geo-fencing was new to me, but I love anything that puts me where my customers are AND I can track them at that moment AND I can deliver an ad. I go to a happy place. Like with all Shiny Objects, it gets your creative juices flowing. You can see yourself winning awards with your Shiny Object at your side. Once I heard about Geo-Fencing I had to hear more, did my prerequisite Google searches, found me a vendor, set up a demo and was ready.  Luckily, the moment when I must buy is always a stopping point to me. I had just wasted time and resources looking at a new tool, but did I want to spend my client’s money on it. That’s where I saved myself.  To combat Shiny Objects Marketing Syndrome we, especially those of us with small budgets, need to ask these key questions:
  • Will it accomplish my goals?
  • Does it fit into my marketing strategy?
  • Do I have the time, money, budget to really roll this out?
  • Do I have the time, money, and budget to keep this going over a few months? Customers need consistency and one-offs will not work.
  • And then ask again, will it help me TODAY accomplish my goals tomorrow?
The answer for my client was NO. Knowing where my customers are via their location is cool, but our problem isn’t knowing where they are it is getting them to buy once they are on our site. That is a completely different strategy, and we needed a way to solve that problem. If you take a moment or two to really ask yourself these questions, you are starting to think strategically about your marketing. Your marketing becomes aligned with your goals and more importantly, your team is all moving in the same direction.  So yes, we all want the Shiny Object and once we hit our revenue goals and our budget increases, we can absolutely start adding it to the mix.  

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