I recently had the chance to engage in a game of paintball-for the first time, thanks to a Living Social deal. It was a great workout and a terrific way to blow off steam from a long day at work. It also triggered a few connections between blasting an opponent with paint and marketing a business.
Unless you have an idea of where your target (audience) is, save your ammunition. I popped several hundred paintballs over a few hours and hit maybe a dozen opponents. Most of those hits came toward the end of my session, when I had figured out how to aim, how many shots to take for a hit and how to position myself for a better chance at hitting my target. If you are shooting ads blindly at every phone book and high school program that calls, any targets you hit will be purely accidental. Follow the patterns. If your target always hides initially before running around and exposing his position, then you know when to use your shots. This is efficient investing. If your targets insist on hiding, then it’s time to research where they might be and when they plan to take action. Some targets are never stationary. A portion of your consumer audience will do the same thing over and over. But people change, so change with them. Sometimes they are looking for a deal. Other times, they will pay any price. Sometimes they are impulsive. Other times, they need convincing. Sometimes they are online, sometimes on a smartphone, sometimes at your bricks & mortar location. Your campaign needs to be able to move with them. Winners have a plan for the entire game. So you had a successful first quarter. That’s nice. How are you going to keep the momentum going so that everyone on your team is still smiling in December? Marketing and branding never stop. That doesn’t mean constantly firing. It means always having a strategy. Partnership is the key. This is nothing new, but I have run into so many business owners that don’t want help. And they often drive themselves to distraction wondering why it isn’t working. Just like PR, the best defense is a good offense. Well-timed and regular good news will usually keep you from having to deal with major PR damage. However, errant press releases with no real content can ensure that when people fire back, they will know exactly where your weaknesses are. To win, you almost always have to fire a shot. If you just sit behind a barrier and hope that eventually you will be able to walk up and take the prize, you are only wasting your most valuable asset: time.
Kleidon & Associates is a marketing communications agency in the greater Akron area.