Innovative marketers constantly put new ideas into practice, and some of the most effective new ideas quickly become marketing best practices or emerging trends.
However, when marketing ideas initially move from early adopters to the majority of marketers, they tend to lose their luster. The incredible results the early adopters reported are not repeated.
This happens for two primary reasons:
- Early adopters have an intrinsic advantage. Unique marketing stands out, it is differentiated simply because very few companies are doing it.
- Early adopters have vision. Early adopters are not looking at a best practice and checklist, they are focused on reaching their audience in a way they believe will deliver marketing results. They have a clear vision for why their approach should work and they continue to evolve their approach in order to achieve their vision.
When you follow best practices and chase trends, you allow someone else’s vision to dictate your marketing approach. Essentially, you become a check-the-box marketer, with a list of marketing activities you need to accomplish. Without your own cohesive marketing vision, you risk taking good ideas and ruining them.
Consider the following examples:
- Social listening. A great opportunity for marketers focused on serving their audience, but it has been degraded into an excuse for spamming by some marketers. If you use Twitter, you have likely experienced this first hand.
- Retargeting ads. A great way to reach an interesting audience, retargeting has become annoying and even creepy.
- Content marketing. Content marketing is still on the rise, but we are already seeing the ill effect of marketers that are slaves to their editorial calendars and required content quantity leading to a deluge of mediocre undifferentiated content that doesn’t serve the audience.
Marketers are ruining these good ideas, proven by early adopters, by executing without a clear focus on their audience.
You cannot counter the intrinsic advantages of a successful early adopter. By definition, they had fewer competing marketing messages.
However, you can learn from their successes and mistakes and develop your own vision by focusing on how your marketing will uniquely meet the needs of your audience. Step away from your own marketing plan and look at your marketing through your audience’s perspective. Is it merely marketing noise or is it valuable?
If you are a B2B marketer entering 2012 with increased budgets for social media, content marketing, mobile marketing and marketing automation, consider how your investments will benefit your audience. Otherwise, you will become one more marketer ruining a great marketing opportunity.
How else do marketers ruin good marketing ideas? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).