The Robert Burns play entitled "To a Mouse" contained the famous line "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." Marketers know all too well that trends, both offline and digital, come and go. That Burns' phrase points to the potential for even well-conceived plans to go wrong. Digital marketing is, at times, a process of trial and error. Sometimes campaigns work, and sometimes they fail. Here's an example of four marketing trends in 2017 that failed when put into practice.
Ignoring Analytics on Target Audiences
Digital marketing should be a data-driven process. Clients should run test marketing campaigns to gauge performance and use analytics from previous marketing campaigns to learn more about the attitudes, behaviors, and general mindset of target customers. No campaign exists in a set-it-and-forget-it world. Even worse, in ignoring your analytics you can end up coming off tone deaf when you put out a campaign that misses the mark entirely.
For a perfect example, look no further than Pepsi's ill-advised effort to sell cans of soda. Pepsi used Black Lives Matter and other social-justice movements as background fodder for their ad. The marketing tactic tried to tap into societal moods, but missed the mark entirely. With better analytics, Pepsi might have known more about their younger audience and crafted a different (better) marketing tactic.
Pay Per Call marketing, as an example, is built on the use of analytics. Clients have a treasure trove of data on caller location, ad touchpoints and interactions, and call duration to use when making data-driven decisions on marketing strategies.
Read More: 3 Tips on How to Target Your Audience
Jumping on the Bandwagon
A lot of Americans grew up with parents spouting the following question: "if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?" Just because a new marketing trend seems like all the rage, doesn't make it right for your brand or make it applicable to your industry. Staying at the front of the pack requires the flexibility to recognize and adapt to changing marketing trends. However, adding a new technology or platform to your marketing efforts just because it is popular doesn't mean it will work.
Pay Per Call is the opposite of a trend. What originated with infomercials on TV has grown into a marketing strategy that can be deployed on direct mailers, email newsletters, social media ads, and search ads. This flexibility not only gives Pay Per Call staying power, it provides various options tailored to fit individual client needs.
Getting too Complex
Marketing strategies don't have to be complex to be effective. The best marketing campaign is that one that delivers the strongest results, not the one that is the most complex. Sometimes marketers ignore the value of simplicity. Dove body wash offered up a perfect example in 2017. Its "Real Beauty" campaign was meant to tear down preconceptions of beauty with soap bottles depicting various female figures, each of which Dove was trying to insinuate held real beauty. While it was meant to reflect the many body types of women, all of which are beautiful, what consumers saw were largely shapeless, abstract bottles of soap.
Dabbling in Politics
This trend isn't limited to 2017, but it occurred time and again throughout the year. Playing on the emotions of customers' beliefs risks serious backlash if it goes wrong. Uber learned this the hard way in January. After President Trump's initial immigration ban went into effect, New York taxi drivers went on strike to protest the legislation. While Lyft stood with cabbies and donated $1 million to the ACLU, Uber played politics and put money over people. The company suspended its "surge" pricing and issued a statement promoting its service as thousands were stuck at New York-area airports and other destinations. Before long, social media was abuzz with hashtags calling for a boycott of Uber.
Pay Per Call marketing is a safe, straight-forward means of generating leads. Clients have the data required to make smart decisions, and can implement effective marketing strategies as a result of that knowledge that avoids taking a risk on iffy marketing trends.