Many of us I am sure, get sent a multitude of sales/marketing content across pretty much all channels. On LinkedIn, life coaches make contact daily. Through e-mail, lots of IT companies and ‘business sales’ specialists hammer my in-box. Some pretty poor looking direct marketing/ SEO or web guys also ‘reach out’ to me. In print, it varies massively. Google likes print (and games and beach balls etc.), as do rather dull looking cleaning/building/gardening services and so in. On Facebook seems I profile well for guitar pedals (reasonably accurate).
The approach is typically poor. No research beyond a simple profile, e-mail address or postal address. Design wise the look is often flat, dull or cliched. The copywriting is equally sleep inducing.
But I could put up with much of that if there was a decent proposition in there somewhere. It’s old school sales methodology, but what are the features and benefits of the product or service that will help me? Yes me – not someone in my ‘sector’ my ‘band of turnover’ or employee size.
One to one marketing has been widely accepted as the way forward for many years. (I did a book review on the landmark Peppers and Rogers book I guess 10 years ago or so.)
Seems the message is not getting through. Maybe it is because people don’t use trained skilled marketing people? Could be they are just lazy (no it’s not a volume game and open rates does not mean true engagement!). No matter – to grab attention some simple sales and marketing principles should be applied. If you don’t know what the proposition is the chances are I will not try and guess.
Design can be a tricky thing. What constitutes good design can be a subjective thing. We all have different designs for our living rooms, so why should we agree on what a website, an e-mail, an advert or an exhibition stand should look like? Bad design is perhaps easier to determine. Busy, poor layout, buried or no clear messaging, non-matching fonts, hard to see, poor imagery and so on.
The thing is, getting it right is not easy. Having a go is easy. Too often we see output where people have ‘had a go’. Well intentioned non-skilled efforts to master design or technology that may have taken hours and hours, yet the outcome is unappealing and badly executed.
Good design is a skill and a gift. It is highly valuable and can bring a campaign to life. It also typically comes with important technical understanding. A few examples of this may be helpful.
The request was simple enough. ‘Can you make our logo a bit darker on this leaflet?’ This was an instruction to a printer after the design work was complete. The printer helped and the logo was made darker. This seems innocuous? The problem here is that most logos are locked down colour-wise in terms of pantone and or CMYK to ensure consistency. As soon as this is moved, taking back control can be incredibly difficult and expensive. Without that control the output from a business can vary enormously because there is no reference point.
A common area for problems to creep in is digital marketing. Just because the software for volume e-mail, digital advertising or even videos allows people to create their own it, does not make the originator a graphic designer overnight. There is some truly dreadful content out there. The symptoms are poor open rates/clicks, minimal engagement, unsubscribes or even black listing.
Just because it is easy for people to ‘have a go’, the damage that can be done is considerable. It may not be immediately apparent but over time it can be expensive in terms of perceived organisational professionalism, brand values and missed new sales opportunities.