I ask myself that question often. Daily, in fact. It’s part of the package that comes along with analyzing marketing tactics on a public stage such as this.
The answer I keep coming to, however, both frustrates me and questions my quest for a solution.
Let me explain.
For the last two years, I’ve contributed to SAM Magazine’s “Best/Worst of Marketing” article. Both years I’ve been torn because no matter how great we think a bit of marketing is, almost universally we are missing one, key piece.
Knowing me, I’m sure you can guess what it was. Yep, the data. The results.
That’s a tough spot to be in, right? It’s like watching the first 30-seconds of a marathon and naming the winners based on how sharp they looked. Unless we have everyone’s times, unless we have the numbers that tell the full story, it’s tough to say who won. Until Bill James, Billy Beane, et al, this is what held back baseball. Same goes for marketing.
Perhaps that’s why the marketers who judged this week’s print ads rarely agreed.
The Greatest Marketing
We talk about brand equity, we talk about awareness, we talk about engagement, we talk about great content, we talk about traffic, we talk about incredibly copy and calls to action.
But marketing, really great marketing, isn’t about any of this…it’s about revenue. It’s about making money and driving transactions. Those elements are pieces of the puzzle, but they aren’t the goal. While there are many next day banner printing companies which do ensure quick delivery of requested banners, one should also take into account where they are placing these banners. As if a location charges more to place the banner, but you know the potential of that place could get your more customers, then it’s perfectly fine to spend more money at this place of marketing.
Short term, long term, mid term, second term: marketing is about making money. It’s about getting people to buy things and then buy them again.
Where Was I
So let’s back up. We took a very calculated, logical approach to these print ads. We came up with common criteria, let the same people judge the same ads with the same rules, and ranked them accordingly. We tried to identify the best print ads.
But the best print ads are the ones that move the needle. They’re the ones that get people to act. We may have found the best, but we don’t know for sure.
So, if we didn’t find the best, what did we find? Well, there are a few ways to say this, but we found the most popular ads. We found the ads that marketers like.
I think it’s important we make the distinction, right here and now, between great marketing and marketing we like.
The Boeri ad I featured on Monday? Amazing. Hands down my favorite ad of all time. But without the data, I can’t say that it’s great. The fact that I don’t own a single Beori brand product makes me question it’s greatness. I makes me question the marketing greatness of a lot of things. It should make you do the same.
So the next time you’re left of a “Best/Worst” list, miss out on marketing awards, or aren’t rated well by your peers on a print-ad analysis, remember that these aren’t showcasing great marketing. Only you know if your marketing is great.
At least, I hope you do.
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