Marketing Maintenance: Why Your Marketing “Stops Working”

Here’s the bottom line: In many, many cases, marketing stops working because it is not properly maintained. And once you look at all the areas that need to be maintained, you start to realize why your team has been falling behind.

Sometimes your phone hiccups, your computer freaks out, and your WiFi suddenly goes kaput. Then you have to call someone to fix it. We trust technology to work...we rely on it to work...our businesses depend on it working...but eventually it always stops working. Your marketing system is the same.

But “it breaks” is hardly a how-to list of testing, repairing, and maintaining for your marketing machine. Let’s dive into some of the key areas where your marketing apparatus is most likely to fail:

Marketing Maintenance: 5 Vital Areas to Watch

Marketing Maintenance Area 1: Audience Behaviors Shift

audience behavior shiftYou know that campaigns need to be updated—messages shift with time. But what happens when you continue to shift campaigns, and the leads or customers just aren’t biting? 

Your audience isn’t given to flights of fancy. A single person may change behaviors unexpectedly, but groups of people move with purpose.

Let’s talk about podcasts: Did listenership go up or down in 2020?

Your first impression may be that it went down. And it did, by 10% when everyone first stopped driving to work in March and April 2020.

By July, however, podcast listenership had increased overall by a staggering 55%!

The podcast example brings up an excellent point that many marketers miss: Stay patient. Some peaks aren’t worth selling off, and some valleys aren’t worth buying. There’s a time for patience, and a time for change. In both cases, marketers need to act with purpose rather than acting like it’s Black Jack in Vegas and “going with your gut.”

Other times, you need to shift, and it’s not what the rest of the industry is doing. Corporations usually don’t gain much through printed mailers; they do, however, gain quite a lot from mailing  a packet and SWAG to specifically targeted accounts. And when mailers slowly died off for catalogue-based businesses, local service providers like pizza houses, auto mechanics, and dentists continued to thrive, and still do to this day.

Are you watching your audience behavior? Your marketing—not just your maintenance marketing—lives and dies by their needs.

Marketing Maintenance Area 2: Dynamics of Competitors Changing Supply & Demand

supply and demand always changesYou’re not the only brand going after your audience. The more players there are in the field, the less supply and more demand there is for ad real estate, both virtual and digital. The same dollars won’t get you today what they got you five years ago, whether that’s in paid search ads or buying a home.

Then you get new players who come in to shake up your industry, both with value propositions and with greater demand for attention on social media, paid search, and even your local town newsletters. These new upstarts can quickly change not only the number of elbows you’re rubbing, but also the amount of market demand for your product/service. (Need we invoke the names of Netflix and Blockbuster Video?)

You know the feeling of watching your competitors beat you...and how frustrating it is when you know they’re providing an inferior service or product to clients and customers.

In many instances we see at Rogue where the competition is beating you for seemingly no good reason (at least none based on an objective review of quality), your competition is doing a better job of speaking to your audience’s customer journey. When you dive into the customer journey, you’ll find a lot of psychology—and that means a lot of emotion. Gaining the trust of your audience of potential clients and customers has many facets, from saying the right words to having the right look.

Marketing Maintenance Area 3: Larger Forces Change Your Industry

industry changing forcesMarketing and business in general gets upset in surprising ways, and methods of adaptation aren’t always immediately obvious. COVID-19 may not have directly impacted Clinique’s ability to manufacture or distribute makeup, but it did change how often people go out or go to the office to work. Supply chains get upset; marketing channels disappear (bye bye, mall Sephora counters). 

Or your industry is pumping along swimmingly, and suddenly political mandates shut down hundreds of thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly, with the stroke of a pen as we saw in January 2021.

You have to recognize when people’s needs change. Let’s take the massive upheaval in makeup demand as an example: What do you do if you’re a makeup manufacturer?

You have to figure out (and hopefully you’ve done this beforehand) why your customers wear makeup. Is it a social expectation? Or do they feel more confident? Are they able to bring out their personality and power through their maquillage? Is business over Zoom no longer the kind of business you put your best foot forward for?

Makeup means so many things to so many people. The social constructs around it have changed; but has the way it makes people feel changed? This is a chance to redefine what your makeup brand does for people.

Marketing Maintenance Area #4: Technology Breaks

technology breaksIf you’ve been in marketing for more than 5 minutes, you know there is a mountain of tools and plugins and systems that your business can use and probably does use. Each one has a different user interface, and you or your employees have to maintain and manage all the various systems. Many of these systems (CRM, CMS, GTM, and so many other acronyms) synchronize with each other. And where there’s a connection, there’s a chance for dysfunction. 

At Rogue Marketing, the leadership has a collective 75+ years of marketing experience. And we’ve seen all marketing service software get bugs and break—from the mightiest tech titans to the scrappiest startups:

  • Your website’s CMS updates and leaves plugins behind
  • Plugins update, and bugs inadvertently clash with your theme/site code
  • Tools stop updating and fall behind
  • Browsers change requirements and knock out some of your tools

In many cases, the task of marketing is performed by machines, and the new task of marketers is to maintain the software. And that leads us to Marketing Maintenance Area #5:

Marketing Maintenance Area #5: No One Is Watching

back burner prioritiesThe work of generating leads, qualifying them, and nurturing them down the funnel is a big job. In fact, it’s several big jobs. And that can lead to someone forgetting that the back burner is still on. 

With that number of tools firing, and you *not* being a developer or being fully multilingual in every user experience, breaks can last for days, weeks, and even months.

But not everything is related to a break in a system. Sometimes you need someone to be able to link all the systems together in order to drive attribution. The truth is, no company ever believes their marketing is “working.”

A salesperson or business development manager always just sent an email or went on a podcast or webinar prior to a bump in traffic or a new lead coming in. When that happens, the groundwork of marketing—all the work that went into creating a foundation to make the brand capable of accepting and nurturing leads—all becomes obsolete. When money is on the line, marketers have to be able to connect the red thread from one system to another.

You Probably Are Watching...But Do You Know What to Do about What You See?

change strategy rogue marketing quotable

It’s OK to not know what to do. Marketing is a complex web of psychology, data, art, tests, technology and so much more. You don’t have to know what to do, and you don’t have to be the one to do it.

You can partner with a team that specializes in helping small and medium size businesses who are stuck in a rut to gain traction and start gaining ground again. Maybe that’s Rogue...but maybe not. Let’s talk—either we’ll tell you that we can do it, or we know who would be the right fit for you.

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