Anybody who believes they know all the answers in advertising is probably turning a blind eye to some of the questions and, in the giddy rush to get to market, common sense and cold logic often take a back seat.
It’s almost too easy sometimes to put a decision or course of action down to ‘instinct’, but as consumers’ attitudes and behaviour now change more rapidly than ever before, ‘gut feel’ can easily turn into ‘gastric flu’.
Misplaced assumptions and partially thought out contact strategies still account for huge wastage of marketing budgets and, as long as this is the case, it’s still worth reiterating some very basic principles of pre-campaign planning.
Customer research: you don’t know what you don’t know and you won’t find out until you ask. Second guessing consumers’ behaviour, appetite and attitude towards your product or proposition can be fatal. In an online world, research needn’t be excessively expensive or time consuming, but it can validate your opinions and stop you making fundamental mistakes.
Testing: there is no substitute for real life and proving or disproving your hunches before ramping up investment. Assessing the relative performance of all the campaign elements – channel, propositions and creative executions – is priceless. Robust, readable test campaigns enhance rollout activity, reduce risk and improve ongoing performance.
Attention to detail: stress testing all the elements of the customer journey, from respondent through to advocate, should never be overlooked. Making sure that all the components fit together and that they all work can never be underestimated. Inevitably you’ll pick up some glitches and when you do, be relieved that you found them now rather than later.
And if all the above sound like stating the obvious, relax, it is, but I still guarantee somebody, somewhere as I write will be spending a budget, studiously ignoring one or all of these tenets.