Is Your Marketing Strategy a Magpie?

Posted by admin at 6:04 PM on Nov 5, 2021


Magpies are renowned for their attraction to shiny things, and sometimes humans can get a magpie-like tendency to become entranced by the latest, newest thing. As marketers we're not immune to getting excited by a new social platform, an innovative email format or subject line or even a novel style of interactive content. This can become a problem when a marketing department throws everything they've got at the newest trick or piece of technology without actually evaluating whether it's appropriate for them.

At best, this magpie-like behaviour is a waste of time and resources and at worst it could damage your brand reputation or mean you miss out on using a more effective social channel for a campaign because there's something new out there; TikTok is an example of a recent brand new shiny thing, but it may not be an appropriate medium for a campaign about something serious.

There is a balance to be found here, between adopting new technologies and ideas and eschewing anything new because it might not last. We advise being cautiously optimistic about new developments – it's a case of keeping an open mind while being level-headed about which tricks and new social platforms might have some staying power.

The most important question to ask yourself is whether this new shiny thing is worth the expense. As we know, it's not just about money but about the amount of time you, or someone on your team will have to spend learning the ins and outs of a new platform, researching what works best, creating content and executing a campaign. If it's not something you can easily transfer or adapt content for, then it might not be worth the expense to even test out a new platform. Yes, you can wait and see what your competitors do and this approach works when the brand new shiny thing has some sticking power but sometimes it pays to take risks. Judge whether the risk is worth it by looking at what expense and resource is involved, especially if it means redirecting effort and money from something that is already working well.

Another good starting question is whether you can measure the effect of the new shiny thing.Is it something that could actually make a measurable, tangible difference or is it just the latest bandwagon to jump on? In some cases, getting on that bandwagon at the right time can pay off but it doesn't always work out well in the long term. Look at how fast the bandwagon is going, and who else is on board to give you an idea of whether it's right for you. Sometimes, these developments aren't actually going to be noticed by the consumer – a good example is the introduction of icons on browser tabs (known as favicons). If you have multiple tabs open, the favicon is an easy way to tell which tab is which and this is useful for customers, but it isn't going to make any difference to your sales. These developments and tricks are worth doing, but not at the expense of something else.

Another discussion point is whether this new shiny medium has any staying power or whether it's likely to be a one trick pony. Lots of brands, especially B2C companies, use these short term tricks like countdown timers on emails, fake-accidental promotions or ultra-narrow targeting to good effect but they are often passing trends which you can't repeat without seeming out of touch. Is it worth compromising a campaign style which works for you with a gimmick? Sometimes it is absolutely worth using these tricks, but they shouldn't be incorporated into your marketing strategy as a repeatable tool.

There's nothing wrong with being drawn to the latest shiny development online, but make sure you evaluate whether it's right for you before you start putting it in your marketing nest.

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