I just read an article written by Steve Smith for Mobile Insider (which, by the way, is definately worth your click through to read the entire article) where he relayed his tale of being sucked into a mobile marketing campaign while out and about at the movie theater. In the article, he is attracted to a movie poster featuring a bar code and little else except a number where you can send a SMS message. The advertising bait dangling in the poster is too intriguing for Steve to pass up (admittedly, I felt the same anticipation he described when he saw the barcode) and he relays the tale of his movie poster marketing scavenger hunt adventure.
Only it isn’t an adventure at all. It’s more a series of irritating steps, two of them pointless, which lead him in a sort of circle showing a movie trailer. That’s it. A movie trailer. As an advertiser, I can list about ten fundamental marketing truths that this poster and its scavenger hunt violates. As a business advocate, my purpose here is strictly public service.
Why do you care? Because the article paints a picture that everyone in advertising should see – whether you’re the business owner giving marketing authority, or you’re the marketing manager pushing the buttons, or if you’re the one waiting around for your movie to start – just because it’s cool doesn’t mean it works. Yes, Facebook and Twitter are amazing marketing tools and there is money to be made by harnessing the power of these social media marketing darlings. Yes, PPC is a highly-effective marketing solution which can give you incredible analytics and insight into your business’ best (and worst…) products. And of course SEO will provide you with a wealth of insight into not only your business and your website, but also your customer’s behavior patterns. But just because all the cool kids are doing it doesn’t mean your business should be.
Smart advertisers will look at your business from every angle and offer up custom solutions that reinforce your company’s goals. For those still with me, that sentence contains at least three extremely important parts: “smart advertisers”, “custom solutions”, and “your company’s goal”. Sometimes you’ll get one or a combination of these critical three elements, but rarely do you get the trifecta. The reason that you need all three working for your marketing campaigns is because you can’t afford to invest vaulable marketing dollars into a “smart advertiser” who offers “custom solutions” only to have it serve their purpose.
Next time you’re tempted to display a barcode on a movie poster (or jump into a marketing strategy of any kind), ask yourself whose purpose you’re serving. If you’re signing up for a marketing trend to test the water, we applaud your pluck but caution you to get your feet wet before throwing yourself off the high-dive. There’s plenty of time for that after you get adjusted to the water temperature. Ads that create a scene are like skinny jeans, high tops, and mohawks – they’re not for everyone. And that’s okay.