The Holy Grail of Marketing

Golden goblet

In the past, I’ve been more than a little outspoken about the potential impact of social media as a marketing and brand-building tool. And I’ve taken my fair share of abuse from traditional marketers who’ve accused me of being stupid, drunk, insane, or all of the above (love you guys!)—but I stood my ground.

Today, I’m here to tell you not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

First of all, babies don’t like that.

Second, while the value and impact of social media as a tool for connecting with current and prospective customers continues to gain momentum (and validation!), there’s still something to be said for taking a strategic, integrated approach to building and maintaining your brand.

The truth? Some tools are better than others. For some audiences. And some products. Sometimes.

And sometimes you won’t know which marketing program will get you the best result—until you’ve tried and either failed or succeeded.

Products change. Times change. People change. Technology changes. Your job? Keep on your toes and always, always be improving.

But Genius, do you still think traditional advertising is f**ked?

Yes. And no.

Yes, it’s under threat like never before.

No, it’s not going to go away completely. Rather, it will EVOLVE. So, get ready.

My point? There aint no silver bullets, people. If you’re looking for the Holy Grail of Marketing, stop. Social Media is awesome, but it’s not going to cure cancer. And it aint going to save you from recession-induced “downsizing” if you don’t know your marketing basics from your butt crack.

So let’s review. The Basics (Genius-Style):

  • Know your audience. Don’t assume, because we all know what happens when you ass-u-me. Actually get to know them. Social media is an excellent tool for that, by the way!
  • Set clear, measurable goals. “Generate more revenue” is not a measurable goal. Just sayin’.
  • Be strategic first; tactical second. If this statement makes no sense to you, go to and buy yourself a copy of Marketing for Dummies. Please.
  • Don’t think “marketing”; think “entertainment”. Think “value”. We’re over-saturated,  over-multi-tasked, and over-tired of being marketed to. The only chance in hell you stand of making an impact through marketing is by weaving real value into the marketing itself. Entertainment value, competitive value, social value, functional value, expressive value… any or all of the above will do.
  • Plan. Yes, plan! In writing! So other native-speakers can understand it! YAY!
  • Test. Live and breathe data. If it works—do it again. Do it bigger, better, faster. If it doesn’t—cut bait.
  • Never, ever, EVER sacrifice design. Don’t even get me started on this one.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just try not to make the same old ones.
  • Give people something to talk about. Often.

Don’t get me wrong: I love social media. I’d rather give up chocolate than Twitter. I can hardly restrain myself from getting on my soapbox when the question, “What the f**k is social media?” is asked.

At the same time, I don’t believe in “One Size Fits All” marketing. And as a Genius—and a female one at that—you KNOW I’m always right.

At least we agree on something. 😉

6 Responses

  1. Spot on! Good marketing theory covers the IMC tools- Integrated Marketing Communications. That means multiple tools working together to spread your message. Not every tool is right for every job, but the more appropriate tools you can use the better because they build on each other.

    Markets diverge and so does marketing. That’s why we will be adding new tools, not necessarily getting rid of the old ones. Sure we may use print and TV less because we have other options, but they will still be around and useful in some situations. Shoot, we still use radio and telegrams.

    The challenge for the marketer is to either get a top level view of them all and coordinate a team to use them, or to delve deep into a niche area and be an expert on one thing.

    Cool blog, and thanks for not stealing my name 😉

    Michael “marketingenious” Daehn

  2. I believe social media is the holy grail, but there are plenty of brands and products that people simply don’t talk about because they’re not very interested. That’s when you need advertising (or the creative minds at an advertising agency) to kick-start the conversations.

    See also:

  3. Completely agree. It would be great to share some ideas on how people can change there approach? Personally, our company took the approach of educating and providing information and real value. It was a real change in our approach. Yes, some of competitors will pick us some info but sharing our best practices actually positions us as building more credability. We used a blog as the primary mode of communication. Funny as one of your slide decks mentioned how a blog adds more credability to your company.
    Thanks for making social media entertaining!


  4. Excellent reality and grounding check – thanks. I’d also add differentiation to the list. To quote Dale Dauten: “Different isn’t always better, but better is always different.”

  5. Brr, but real!

  6. Thanks, Michael! 😉

    Good call, Mary!

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