Spoiler: panic marketing is not about COVID
Panic Marketing. It is what happens when you have to get out a marketing piece or an eBlast at the last minute. Sure, we marketers are nimble and can turn on a dime, but sometimes emergency marketing pieces have not had the thorough check through that a planned direct mail piece undergoes. With panic marketing, we may overlook errors. Did we pull the right marketing list? Did we use the right links for the photos? Is this the right phone number? Bottom line — did we blow it?
Panic marketing is reactive, rather than proactive. Instead of careful planning, we are reacting to an event or a pressing need. And, by the way, sometimes an emergency forces us to market fast. We need to be able to react quickly, but that needs to be the exception, rather than the rule.
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Proactive vs Reactive Marketing
The primary difference between proactive and reactive marketing is planning. Proactive marketing is defined by the use of analytics and budget to determine the best direction for a marketing strategy. This is done before the plan is actually launched. Then, over the course of the campaign, the marketing team reviews its progress. They can tweak the campaign as needed to make sure it is successful.
In reactive marketing, we are responding to an event or a need. This is an emergency. It has to get out. There is no time for thoughtful analysis or planning. In terms of results, we will just see how it does. The analytics have not been built-in in advance. (Did we even have a chance to think about KPIs (key performance indicators)?)
Most of the time, reactive marketing is a drain on budget and resources. When we are rushing just to get our marketing out the door, chances are we are going to miss something. And, if we miss even the slightest thing, we are probably not going to generate leads or create brand awareness.
And generating leads for the dealership is what it is all about.
What Causes Panic Marketing?
According to Jennifer Smith at Marketing Profs, panic marketing is endemic in many organizations. These are some of the causes:
- Marketing and sales are not aligned: A sales leader emails your team and says, “We’re sponsoring an event happening next week, and we need marketing support.”
- Your organization has shiny object syndrome: A senior-level executive goes to a conference, hears about the latest marketing buzzword, and then wants your team to start doing that activity NOW.
- Your organization has a shaky top-down vision: There is no high-level strategy or company-wide goals. This typically results in teams doing whatever they need to do to hit their department’s goals.
- Your marketing team does not push back: Marketing should be a revenue generator for your organization. Does management listen to your suggestions?
Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
This old military saying holds true for all types of planning, not just marketing, but I want to stress its importance in the small business arena.
I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a dealership owner spend time, effort and money to create a great direct mail or email campaign. It is terrific. The campaign hits and lots of phone calls come in. However, the owner forgets to tell the customer service rep who answers the phones about the promotion. Ouch.
In panic marketing, sometimes we miss some of the bases. Proper planning is the key. Do not get sidetracked by marketing FOMO. Sometimes marketers jump into new marketing and advertising channels they know nothing about because it is the “shiny new object.” Just for the sake of staying ahead of the curve.
The Shiny Object Syndrome
I just love the sound of that phrase. It is not just marketing-oriented. In fact, anyone can fall victim to shiny-object syndrome. In fact, at some point in our lives, we are almost all guilty of it. In the context of business organizations, it is most damaging when management gets the bug.
Here’s the story: The dealer goes to the marketing track at the WQA conference. They hear a case study about how this “new shiny marketing thing” that increased company revenue by X%. After the conference, the marketing director receives an email from the dealer, including “Just got back from WQA. This ‘new shiny marketing thing’ interesting. What are we doing with that?”
Panic sets in. The marketing director goes into fire-drill mode to determine how to implement “new shiny marketing thing.”
Examples of the “shiny marketing things” might be video posts on TikTok, weekly podcasts, high pressure landing pages, showcasing water filters on Pinterest.
Is the Shiny New Marketing Thing Right for You?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the shiny new marketing thing help our strategy?
- Will our customers engage with this shiny object?
- Will this shiny object help or hurt our company goals?
- How hard is this shiny object to implement and maintain? What are the costs and benefits?
- Do we have the right team to support the shiny object?
- Can we afford to do it properly?
If the answer to these is ‘yes’, then by all means investigate the new shiny marketing thing, but plan it carefully. Do not let FOMO be the cause of panic marketing.