You may think I am prone to exaggeration. But you would not believe the pain that I can inflict on people by uttering one small word… “marketing”. Or if I am feeling particularly vicious, I can double the pain with two words… “social media”. At least I think it is pain that I am inflicting, judging by the reactions of my victims. There is the visible cringe, the head in the hands, the twisting fingers. Or as one victim, aka client, said yesterday, “I just want to cry”.
What is the maleficent power in these words, especially considering that I personally tend to get passionately excited whenever they are mentioned? It’s definitely a modern malaise, and one that can be traced to a recent change in the business landscape.
These days, marketing is infinite. There is always more that you could be doing. In the not so distant past, there was always the limit of budget. You had a fixed sum of money to deploy in marketing, where you would calculate how to get the best return for your particular goals. But take away the limitations of ad spend and replace it with the endless cost-free opportunities afforded by social media, and suddenly there is no limit to what you could or should be doing.
The only limit now is time. But is it? I’m not being metaphysical, it’s just that you can set up your social media updates to run long after you’ve clocked off for the night, or weekend or even during a well-earned break in the sun. The implication is that your marketing activity should be working 24/7, 365 days a year. And that casts a long shadow.
Even if you’re blessed with a diligent marketing department beavering away on your behalf, you may still be called on to contribute blogs and other content. A swift career change to writer, publisher and furnisher of ideas for videos, podcasts and infographics is demanded throughout the hierarchy of companies of all sizes. But what happens if all of it falls on your desk? No wonder that a gentle enquiry as to how social media activity is going can lead to that frightened look with shoulders raised to brace against the pain.
In the brave new world of infinite marketing, where to do you draw the line? Have a think about whether your business needs to be active on all of the main social media networks, or whether it is better to focus on just a couple. Schedule a designated time to focus on social media activity, such as a “Twitter Tuesday” or “Facebook Friday”.
Importantly, make sure that the effort you are putting in is bringing rewards. Track which channel is working, and which type of posts generate the most interest. If something’s not working, think again, ask for professional advice or even Google best practice for each channel. After all, infinity is a long time to do something that is not working.
When I worked on advertising for booze brands, they saved all their TV spend for the three weeks before Christmas. When I worked on Andrex, their TV campaign was on air for fifty weeks of the year. If even an essential like toilet paper can take two weeks off, why not allow yourself a little break from the torture chamber too?