Marketing Forest for the Trees

Categories: Branding
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Published on: May 27, 2012

The Marketing Forest ()

A forest canopie

The phrase “see the forest for the trees” has been coined in marketing topics before. But in today’s online climate it is particularly apt. Internet marketing is a virtual forest of online channels (with over 72 million results on Google at the time of this post), but too many people concentrate on the individual strategies and forget the big picture. At its best, marketing is about coordination and consistency, not just creativity.

When you market your brand, you are trying to give customers and potential customers a perspective. If you’re good, people who share your perspective will take action. If you’re great, people who don’t already share your perspective will change, in at least some small way. But before you can do any of that you need to know what your brand is, and you need a plan on how you are going to use all the different marketing mediums available today while at the same time keeping your brand consistent. Your brand is the cohesive whole “forest”, not just the sum of its individual channel trees.

Sometimes that means using an approach that no one else is doing, and sometimes that means not using an approach at all. Take the recent GM decision to pull advertising on Facebook, a report that has traditional and new-medium marketers all up-in-arms. It is possible, even probable, that GM’s decision is based on more than the desire to save or redirect advertising money. But the fact remains that there are those who do well on Facebook, so perhaps the decision doesn’t reflect on Facebook’s ability to actually bring in customers and, ultimately, revenue.

Sometimes you won’t know if a channel is or isn’t helpful to your brand until you try it. But you will always know if it is harmful to your brand, so long as you really look at both the channel itself and your established whole brand. So, the moral of saying “see the forest for the trees” is to stop looking at your brand “in Facebook” or “on Twitter”, but instead look at it as a whole, consistent perspective.

Can you name some brand/medium combinations that should never have happened?

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