I’m going to write about it, of course.
The secret marketing ingredient no one ever seems to mention is …
Any marketing effort you make takes place over time. You plan your marketing, schedule it, implement it and track its results over time. And how you handle your marketing over time will determine whether or not it’s successful.
How to Screw It Up
It’s alarming how easy it is to mess up your carefully planned and executed strategy. All it takes is one shoddily-executed marketing piece to set back all your efforts.
The most common mistake I see? Creating pieces that are “off brand.” They look unrelated to everything your company has done previously. They use a different visual style, or write in a voice that doesn’t sound familiar.
Sometimes this happens out of boredom. You work hard to decide on colors, typefaces and an overall feel to your materials. But you get tired of looking at the same website and style. So you decide to change things up and try something new.
You don’t research the market and do a careful study of your options. You simply print a marketing piece — or create a website — that looks and feels completely unrelated to everything you’ve done before.
All that brand recognition you worked so hard to build up? Gone.
You confuse your target market with your new “look,” and they wonder if the company has a new owner. You lose trust.
Steady as She Goes: Why Consistency Matters
… a high degree of consistency is normally associated with personal and intellectual strength. Is is at the heart of logic, rationality, stability and honesty. – Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.
Consistent marketing offers your audience a shortcut to understanding your information. They don’t have to process your logo, colors and typefaces — they can simply assimilate the new information you’re presenting.
Think about it this way. The first time you visit a blog, you pay attention to the name, style, colors and typefaces in great detail. They help form your image of the site, and — by extension — your ideas about the company.
But the second time you visit, you don’t pay as much attention to the visuals. And in subsequent visits, you go straight to the newest post, and start absorbing the information presented.
Tried and True, and Trustworthy, Too
When you suddenly change the visual appearance of your marketing materials, your audience is jarred by the change, and isn’t sure what else may have changed in your company. Do you still offer the same products and services they’ve come to expect? They’re not sure.
Instead of taking in your latest marketing information, they have to process the change first. They may never get around to understanding what you’re really trying to communicate.
Stay the Course
You build trust over time, by presenting your company consistently over and over. Your message, your visual presentation, your overall style work together to form an image in the minds of your target market.
Make sure time is on your side by staying true to your message, and sticking by your design decisions. It’s one secret to marketing success that’s not a secret any more.