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Set the strategy, then get inventive

I probably shouldn’t write blog posts the morning after the England football team have suffered another of the traditional disappointing tournament exits. The nation is in mourning, everyone’s an expert with hindsight and it’s easy to adopt a little melancholy in my thoughts.  Let’s shake it off!

And for what it’s worth England did do one thing very well at Euro 2012, something I regularly drum into my clients. They had a plan and they worked it.

In football, as in business, I always find the uninitiated gloss over this stage – but by laying that groundwork, by being superbly drilled, by knowing their role and limitations and by executing the plan exactly – they were able to come out of the group stages as winners, exceeding expectations.

The same applies in marketing, once you have set a direction and strategy indvidual campaigns can be allowed freedom of thought.  Changing that strategy frequently means time is wasted constantly re-communicating ideas and risks a greater chance that mistakes will be made as people have to understand a constantly changing focus.

  • Brand guidelines in place – check
  • Objectives established within your marcomms plan – check
  • Target and desired ROI agreed and measurable – check

Now let your people get creative with their ideas.  Tap into the passion in your business to find the idea that will inspire and engage others. That’s the bit no one can do for you.

If you have more than one idea, even better. Don’t let that be a cause of argument, use multiple ideas to your advantage by testing them against each other – it’s called A/B testing. If the strategy is robust implementing variations of activity won’t cause confusion, it will give you vital learnings. Absorb them, change it a bit, go again!

Remember the old adage defining insanity? “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

It’s attributed variously to Einstein or Rita Mae Brown or Mark Twain depending on who you believe and it makes perfect sense for your marketing approach. But let’s face it, none of them would have been much use in a penalty shoot-out either….

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