Given the proliferation of Top # lists across the blogosphere where online marketers are regularly cajoled, wheedled, pontificated and wangled into adopting this, that or the other strategy (always accompanied by the assurance that said adoption will boost sales and place profits in the Carlos Slim class), the opposite approach can often be more powerful and persuasive. How to Kill Your Brand in 5 Easy Lessons by Brad Shorr on CrowdShifter is a prime example of how to rivet the focus of your reader by showing the mistakes that businesses can make in engaging their customers through online marketing and serve as lessons on what not to do.
Shorr curtly and appropriately summarizes the various pitfalls that can undermine a brand’s online marketing in five points. Taken to the letter, these points will murder your brand. But doing the opposite will allow it to flourish:
- Sales rep terrorism – Shorr equates running a sales operation with loose controls to a reign of terror by the representatives. He states that when they are allowed to articulate value propositions and produce independent sales collateral, the result is chaos. He is essentially correct in that no two reps will ever portray any aspect of sales in the same way and if left to their own devices the result can be confusing for the customer and disastrous for the brand image, which will be left fragmented and incoherent.
- Benefit overdose – Taking stereotypical hyped infomercial pitches worthy of parody and augmenting them through online marketing to the nth degree does nothing more than stun a customer into stupefied distraction. A single benefit, or at the most two, is all that the average online customer can possibly absorb, but when they are barraged with a rapid-fire chain of “get this free get that free get the other thing free” it results in an addlepated, alienated individual rather than an engaged, enthusiastic customer.
- I want it all and I want it now – Niche specialization is the sweet spot for most online marketers and it is generally a mistake to attempt to appeal upmarket, downmarket and sidewaysmarket. You don’t walk into a Bentley dealership and see Hyundai Accents, and you don’t go to a jewelry store and see the gold plated $10 high school charm placed next to the half million dollar Rolex GMT Ice wristwatch. Find a profitable market segment and concentrate on mastering it thoroughly, rather than letting your megalomaniac tendencies run awry.
- The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind – Yes, the online marketing world is constantly changing, but the values of the established major brands are accordant, consistent and syllogistic from month to month and year to year. You don’t see Apple veer off into producing designer lingerie, or Victoria’s Secret launching a tablet. A clear sign of a confused brand identity is the tendency of the online marketer to be a flag fluttering in variable winds according to what happens to be trending that day. Hew out a clear and unmistakably unique brand identity and maintain a steady hand on the helm through the social media storms.
- Chatters don’t buy – There’s a reason they call it social media, and it’s because in order to succeed in marketing your wares through that channel you have to be social. True, the accurate calculation of Return On Investment (ROI) in social media is just slightly more elusive than the alchemical formula for turning lead into gold, but that doesn’t mean that engaging prospects through the social network platforms is a waste of time. Shorr points out that when a brand remains aloof and unsociable, the result is that brand loyalists soon lose their enthusiasm and that is a readily quantifiable negative ROI.
When you see these five points listed in this manner you don’t think that any online marketer would be dense enough to actually implement any of them, but it’s surprising how many do… and might not even realize it. Don’t be one of them!