Frequent marketing meetings are often a sign of marketing struggles.
Of course, when marketing is struggling, we tend to meet about it.
But the meeting itself is part of the problem, or at least a symptom of a greater one.
Because meetings require consensus, and consensus can lead to compromise.
Consensus itself is not the problem—we can all agree. But we need to agree on the right thing. And preferences, tastes, and styles are not something we can, or should, all try to agree on.
When we do marketing in meetings, we end up suffering from what advertising pioneer Howard Gossage called “disimprovement,” or the act of “making things worse by trying to make them better.”
Everyone contributes their own contradictory opinion about the marketing, we end up compromising on every strong position, and pretty soon the work is done but it isn’t _doing_anything.
Marketing must stand out. It must be clear. And it must target one type of customer in particular.
Which means, by definition, somebody won’t like it. And that somebody may be in your company or on your team.
But it’s vital that we don’t adjust our marketing until everyone’s fine with it. Because that’s all it can be if everyone agrees: Fine. Okay. Passable.
And marketing that’s only okay is worse than no marketing at all, because it cost you money and it wasted your time. Marketing that everyone likes is marketing that no one will love. It’s marketing that won’t move anyone to change a habit or tell a friend.
We can find consensus, if we ask the right questions. Which are: Can it work? And is it likely to work? The least important question is whether we like it—because we are not the customer.
Does that mean we have to ignore feedback, or charge forward without checking with others? No, it just means that we deal with feedback differently.
Fears that the marketing might be offensive, inaccessible, off strategy, or poorly executed need to be addressed, and quickly. But preferences or tastes are not a strong basis for making changes.
We don’t make marketing for ourselves to look at, we make marketing to make customers.
So what do we do instead of meeting to make marketing progress?
We create a strategy.
We create the structure to work efficiently to get what we want.
That structure necessarily and positively constrains us, it points us in the right direction and guides our day-to-day decision-making. That’s what we need to agree on: what constraints will we be bound by?
The first constraint we need to create and agree on is our marketing position.
It needs to be targeted at a particular customer set and it must demonstrate how our business is uniquely capable of helping them overcome an obstacle or achieve an objective.
And we need to agree that reinforcing that marketing position in every interaction we have with the public, at our ideal customer’s moment of need, is our best and most likely way of making a sale.
We need to agree that in everything we do, from our LinkedIn posts, to our search ads, to our blog, to our YouTube channel, we reinforce our marketing position.
And we need to agree that we must do so creatively, boldly, in a way that gets noticed, instead of blending in.
If we all agree on who we’re speaking to, what they need to hear, how to best express it, and when it’s most likely to be positively received, what is there to meet about?
And if we don’t all agree on that, a meeting isn’t going to help.
Because so long as you’re missing the strategy, you’ll miss the impact.
Use that hour instead to write down a description of your ideal client or customer.
Compile a list of moments in their life that trigger them to realize they need a business to help them achieve or overcome something.
Write down the future state or specific problem your business helps them resolve.
And document precisely how your business is uniquely able to help that customer.
Just what you’re best at, and just who needs it most.
And then spend the rest of your hour thinking of ways to reinforce that marketing position.
At those moments of greatest need, using your marketing channels.
It’s a better use of an hour, and it might just change everything.