It goes without saying that we should be monitoring campaign performance. Analysing results, learning and adjusting accordingly, but we should never underestimate the role experience plays in effective brand promotion.
I'm reminded of a story I've heard many times. You may have heard it too but bear with me and keep reading.
A ship's engine failed, no one could fix it. The owner brought in a man with 40 years experience on the job.
He scrutinised the engine, top to bottom. After looking things over, the guy reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something.
Instantly, the engine lurched into life. The engine was fixed! 7 Days later the owners received the bill for £10,000.
'What?!' the owner said, “You hardly did anything. Send us an itemised bill.”
The reply simply said,
Tapping with a hammer, £1
Knowing where to 'tap'. £9,999
The shipowner settled the bill immediately.
The ship's engine not working was a clear sign something was wrong, but It's not this obvious when marketing isn't working as well as it could. Let me give you an example from a previous agency I worked for.
We were approached by a new client who needed to produce a printed product catalogue.
The company hired ski clothing to schools for their trips. Their manager who had always produced the catalogue himself had left and set up in competition. Our client needed to start from scratch, and we had been recommended to help.
So we sat down with them to get to know them, their brand and to understand what they wanted to achieve from the catalogue. The client was happy with the results usually produced, and they wanted the new catalogue to perform at least as well.
We proposed a fresh design with a new format which required them to spend a little more. Even though the client hadn't intended to invest more than budgeted, they agreed after we explained our reasons.
We produced the catalogue and mailed it to Head Teachers. The client loved the new design and format, and we waited for feedback from schools with great anticipation.
The number of schools choosing the company as preferred supplier doubled and orders from the catalogue more than tripled.
What did we do differently from the previous editions?
What were our reasons for changing the design and format from what the manager had always done?
Well, drawing on experience backed up with data, we produced the catalogue explicitly aimed at the intended buyer.
Research showed that Head Teachers made their selection based on what they felt pupils would like. And they understood their pupils very well.
By designing to a buyer persona (and quite frankly nailing it), the catalogue appealed to the very people picking which items to purchase.
The client knew which items were popular with the age group and put together a great selection of products. The fresh new design focused on the user experience and engaged with the pupils. Finding items was easy, and purchasing was clear and straightforward.
You see in the past they had been aimlessly 'banging' around with some success. But by knowing where and how to use the hammer more effectively, we were able to improve campaign results significantly. More than justifying the additional spend.
Although their ship's engine (catalogue) was working it was not firing on all cylinders, and they didn't realise it. A few experienced 'taps' in the right places with our 'hammer' helped their campaign make real waves.
Our client, like many other small businesses, was not monitoring the results of their sales and marketing efforts. They would never have discovered their marketing was 'misfiring' if their Manager hadn't left.
Fortunately, a positive outcome was achieved from a potentially damaging situation. But I wonder how many businesses never question if the results from our customer acquisition activities could be improved?
This campaign was over ten years ago. Digital marketing was still in its infancy. Today we have so much more available to us to help measure marketing. Campaigns can be specifically targeted, tracked and analysed as opposed to interruptive marketing that doesn't reliably produce a return on investment.
Making relevant content available to the right people at the right time, then measuring, learning and adjusting, so you know exactly where and how to 'tap' with your hammer will maximise your return.