May 2018
Arbitrary Marketing

Jeffrey Spear - President, Studio Spear

Jeff Spear

In today's guarded economy, you would think marketing endeavors would be carefully planned and proactive. With competitors around every corner, you would also expect marketers to demand significant impact and return on investment. Guess what.


Surprisingly, and as a cost-saving practice, there are brand owners who believe "I don't need to spend money on marketing." They believe their products will simply sell themselves. The reality is that, if you are eager to increase sales and enhance the overall value of your business, and with competitors eager to knock your brand out of the way, making arbitrary decisions about your marketing endeavors, or avoiding them altogether, is foolhardy, wasteful and ineffective. If you're looking to build an effective marketing program, here are a few recommendations:

ESTABLISH ANNUAL BUDGETS    Regular and ongoing brand building and promotional activities are important facets of an effective business plan. Accordingly, you'll want to make sure to include a line item for these activities. Depending on the size of your business, years of operation, strength of brand and competitive pressures, this can equal 3% to 15% of gross revenues. And while you'll want to spend everything you've allocated, you'll want to spend wisely (see Tactical Approach, below).

HAVE A USP    If you make a statement about your product or service that can be answered with "I should hope so," you won't get very far. It is better to identify and communicate those qualities that make your business stand apart from the rest - your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE    Identifying and understanding the people most likely to buy your products or services is critical for a successful marketing program. When you demonstrate empathy with your buyers and communicate in a manner that resonates as truthful and authentic, sales will follow.

BE CREATIVE    The whole idea behind marketing is to communicate an offer in a manner that grabs attention, minimizes competition, compels purchase and builds loyalty. This requires highly developed strategic insights and creative concepts that resonate with key audiences. If your skill set does not fall into these categories, and to ensure the greatest return on investment, it is wise to leave this to a properly credentialed marketing agency to develop and implement.

PLAN A TACTICAL APPROACH    Investing in brand communications such as advertising, public relations, social media and trade shows are all excellent ways to build awareness and influence the sales cycle. With so many tactics to choose from, you'll need to plan strategically and spend wisely. If you are not well versed in tactical planning, and to ensure the greatest return on investment, it is wise to obtain marketing agency recommendations.

AVOID SHINY OBJECTS    There is always something shiny and new on the horizon proclaiming to be the latest and greatest in marketing history. In the past few years, this has included QR (Quick Response) codes, blogs and social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.). Keep in mind that, just because these tactics are new and widely discussed in the media does not mean they should become an essential part of your marketing program. (see Tactical Approach, above).

The same holds true for last minute advertising deals. Running an ad simply because a publication has discounted space does not guarantee effectiveness, especially if you do not have an ongoing advertising plan already in action.

The bottom line is that a truly effective marketing program is not arbitrary, ad-hoc, knee-jerk or sale-priced. It is a properly planned and adequately funded business investment that generates meaningful and worthwhile returns.


If the time has come to overhaul, update and re-invigorate your brand image, or you'd like to change up your marketing program, please call 904 685 2135 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email:

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