Stop throwing tactics at your marketing challenges


Maybe you’re attacking the same market problem over and over again with short-term tactics that don’t build long term strength. Or maybe you’re bosses/board/shareholders expect double-digit sales growth this year. Whatever your marketing challenge, finding a real solution only comes from a deep understanding of your brand strength.

You have a brand to make shine and maybe your returns aren’t reflecting your efforts. Often we try to fix these issues and address short term challenges by throwing more tactical efforts at them. “More sales calls! More sponsorships! More guerilla marketing! More More More!”

We both know that isn’t the solution. We need to go deeper – we need to go back to the brand in order to make our strategy work. What’s needed is a brand action plan that will focus and unite the team.

Here are 6 meaningful signs that you aren’t working your brand:

1. You’re discounting

Why oh why are you discounting? You know the types of clients you’re pulling in when you discount – the shitty ones, the one-offs, the savers. They aren’t going to be loyal to you. Discounting has its place, but this isn’t that moment. If you’re discounting in an effort to pull in more customers, or to keep your current customers around, you reek of desperation – not just to me, a brand person, but to your customers, too. It’s a serious turn-off that stinks of lack of brand focus.

2. High turnover

Your marketing and sales teams aren’t sticking around. They are defeated and deflated, the motivational chats just aren’t working anymore. They aren’t creating content that works. Chances are that this is happening because they don’t have a strategy to guide and shape their creative communication efforts. All their work feels meaningless because they aren’t unified over a mission (a mission that isn’t simply: “Make us more money!”). If your creatives and sales people are leaving, you’re facing a brand issue.

3. Your sales and marketing messages are different

When teams aren’t unified over a global goal and message, they start throwing out whatever line they think will work for the customer on the other end. The messaging isn’t consistent, it confuses your market. You know your brand glue is missing when your sales and marketing teams are speaking completely different languages, working in their own silos.

4. You leader, are facing marketing fatigue

You’re bored by the product and service you’re trying to get people to buy into. If you’re feeling it – your team is feeling it, too. You’ve lost touch with your core values. Don’t try to fix the issue with a rebrand or trendy marketing ploys. Go back to the heart of why people were connecting in the first place. Time to reinvigorate your team’s creativity (and your own) with some brand love.

5. Dreaded reduced loyalty

Oh god. Customers aren’t buying like they once were. The graphs are pointing downwards. Your customers aren’t supporting like they used to. It’s time to reconnect. Seriously. People buy and support companies based on emotional pulls. You can’t fake that emotion. And there’s only one way to make that emotional connection stick – you guessed it – your brand. Often these disaffected customers can be the best opportunity for a quick turnaround when you re-engage them.

6. You’re trying something new every week

Your team is confused. You’re confused. What’s the slogan again? What’s this campaign focusing on? What are we offering again? Was it leather accessories made by local artisans or doggy clothes? If you’re making choices all willy-nilly hoping to intrigue a new or tired marketing segment, jumping from one potential client demand to the next, you know you have a serious brand issue.

What you need is a reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing. You need to reconnect with the mission that drove this company in the first place. Quit flailing about. Let your brand zen you out and give you tunnel vision. Build an action plan that makes your brand work for you and your team.

Worried that all this introspection is going to distract from real ROI?

Check out this case study about how one retailer used a brand review to turn the tide and drive an 89% sales lift.