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Seven ways to jeopardise marketing

News, 30 March 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Brands should not lose sight of the fundamentals and be wary of jumping on every marketing bandwagon, believes David Wheldon, the president of the World Federation of Advertisers.

In his keynote speech at the recent World Federation of Advertisers' annual conference in Kuala Lumpur, Wheldon outlined seven ways he believes brands kill high-quality marketing.

A key theme was that marketers must keep their eye on the prize. Chasing a new marketing fad every week endangers quality work and can distract from a brand's core purpose.

He argued that the fundamentals of marketing remain relatively consistent, despite a huge number of new platforms.

Although some new technologies offer exciting opportunities, investment should be cautious at first. Generally, it is critical that brands keep an eye on their central goals and not be "the dog that barks at every passing car".

Brands which lose sight of their customers' motivations are also sabotaging their own marketing efforts, he said. This is an issue for the services sector, where losing sight of the audience can see customers head off to a competing brand.

The financial services sector, in particular, Wheldon believes, has had to learn this lesson the hard way – what the customer wants isn't slick marketing efforts, but a seamless customer experience.

As Wheldon put it: "People are obsessed with the competition. If you are obsessed with the customer, you will always win."

A common trap marketers fall into is taking a "more is more" approach to brand communications, bombarding customers with targeted ads or email communication which actually turn customers away. For some, it can be a relentless cycle which is hard to break.

"Whichever media we've gone into, we've created all sorts of clutter," said Wheldon. "When that results in low ad awareness, what do we do? We just spend more money and create more clutter… [customers] don't like it, and it's our fault."

Data sourced from Warc