Many Coins Frequently Tossed

by: Doug Michaelides

Something that non-marketers have a hard time understanding is that marketing is a non-deterministic endeavour. It is not always possible to connect a particular outcome with a specific initiative. Instead, it is a probabilistic undertaking; every action accumulates to increase the odds of the desired results.

This may sound like there is an element of faith to marketing; I prefer to think of it as building confidence. Flip a single coin one time and you might not get “heads”. Flip multiple coins at the same time, or a single coin multiple times, and you are confident that you will.

That’s why marketers like to run sustained, integrated marketing campaigns. Integrated marketing means using a variety of different, complementary methods to achieve your objective. For example, to raise awareness, you advertise plus participate in tradeshows plus issue press releases plus execute viral campaigns. Like tossing a single coin, an individual awareness initiative may not give you the result you want, but the weight of the combined efforts (flipping several coins) increases the odds of success. Sustaining these efforts over time (multiple flips of the coins) gives you even greater confidence of a positive outcome.

Now let’s talk about spending coin. . .

Effective marketing requires spending enough to run integrated campaigns on a sustained basis. It is the great tragedy of marketing that the marketing budget is often the first one to be sacrificed when financial targets are under pressure. As the elements of an integrated marketing plan are whittled away and the campaigns are pared back or shortened, the odds of success decrease. Unsatisfactory results from eviscerated marketing campaigns then confirm the thinking that led to the cuts in the first place.

Successful companies have the confidence in marketing, and their marketing teams, to adequately fund integrated campaigns and sustain the spending so it has a chance to yield results. They don’t gamble on a single toss of a coin.

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