Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The art of Imperfection

Why is it that some marketing projects fly through to completion and others get ground down to dust before limping home? It is better to sign off a marketing initiative and move on to the next, than to seek perfection and miss the point. Accuracy and truth are demanded and expected in all things marketing, especially in the b-2-b arena, but the sequence of checking, correcting and proofing isn't always the reason why some initiatives take so long to reach fruition. Indecision can be a killer to creativity and success.

Every marketing initiative – be it an advertisement, press release, technical data sheet or website page – needs a champion, someone who can specify, agree and take responsibility for the result. There are times when we seem to have lost the benefits of decision making we enjoyed in the pre-electronic network days. Remember when people met in a room to receive a pitch and make a choice there and then, or the time when one person was given, and accepted, responsibility for a marketing decision? Now it seems that material sent for client approval has to be distributed far and wide for comment, usually with time-consuming and unwanted consequences.

Successful marketing campaigns rarely rely on a single initiative. The elements of a 'marketing mix' should combine to magnify the stimulus to buy a product or service. Don't be afraid of giving a green light to a piece of copy or a graphic design; asking 'n' others will usually result in 'n-1' different responses. Many people think they have to find something to criticise or else they will be seen as an ineffective non-team player. The resulting task of assessing all the responses and different views and trying to walk a middle path, will inevitably annoy n/2 colleagues while delaying the process, diluting the result and costing more in creative time.

To misquote the Duke of Wellington, as long as it's not misleading or illegal, "print and be damned"and get onto the next marketing initiative - because that's the only way your well-prepared marketing plan will be effective.

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