One of my favourite expressions to describe poor marketing is “spray and pray”. This is a trap many amateur marketers fall in to: the “If we chuck it out there, someone might see it, and if we’re lucky, that someone might be someone who wants to buy our product!”. In a word, use the spray gun approach and pray it his your target.

Why does this matter? Who cares if you “spray and pray”, as long as you get results eventually?


The reasons ‘Spray and Pray’ is not great

1. It’s a waste of time, money and effort; something small to medium sized businesses don’t tend to have a lot of.

2. It can irritate people who are “collateral damage”; those who aren’t your target market but are subjected to marketing they aren’t interested in. They might not be in your target market but they will probably know people who are and can express an opinion that may negatively prejudice these targets against your business.

3. It can affect your reputation with the people you do want to have a healthy relationship with.

The alternative is what all professional marketers aim for: targeted, thought through, effective marketing.


Tips on how to achieve targeted, effective marketing:

1. First, every piece of marketing and marketing activity should have a purpose.
It should be designed to make people either think, do or feel something. This could be as basic as “They laugh at my ad so feel happy” or “They want to contact us for more information”.

Example: This blog post has one main purpose: to show you, my reader, that I know my stuff when it comes to marketing. I want you to think ‘this person knows their marketing onions.’ Let’s give this the aim that is in my business plan: ‘to achieve expert status.’ My Call To Action, what I want you to do as a result of reading this blog post: sign up to my newsletter (see the end of this blog post).


2. Next, decide who this marketing is targeted at and tailor it to them.
Is your marketing aimed at existing clients? Or your existing network? Or people who have never heard of you? Be very clear who your audience is and tailor your approach, messaging and content to that audience – while being aware that everyone can see what you are putting out there – even if it’s an email it can get forwarded on, Zoom calls can have screen shots taken and so on.

You should have done work on your Segmentation Profiles so understand how to tailor your marketing to each segment’s needs.


Buyers Journey – KMS Marketing version

3. Ensure your marketing is part of a coherent plan.
Marketing is there to support the sales process at every step. Make sure you have marketing in place at every step of the Buyer’s Journey and when you have do a marketing activity start with the phase of the Buyer’s Journey and what you need to do. This will ensure that your marketing activities fit in to achieving your business goals.

Example: I see so many businesses – of all sizes – who start with the marketing activity first. For example, ‘ We’ve done some Instagram posts because we felt we should be on there’ rather than, ‘We know that our audience are big Instagram users so, for them to become Aware of us, we have identified Instagram as a place we have to be. We need to create relevant, regular, interesting Instagram posts to support our Awareness Activities.’


4. Measure how successful each piece of marketing is
As part of deciding what the purpose of each piece of marketing is, decide how to measure it.

Sometimes it’s easy, such as “xxxx number of webhits”, sometimes it’s harder- how do you measure if someone has seen your advert in a magazine?

It could be a combination of measurements, such as an increase in web hits for the time after the ad has appeared, the number of people typing your web address directly into a browser, the number of people who call your business…the measurements depend on the purpose of the marketing: if you are creating a campaign to increase repeat business, measure the amount of repeat business.


To finish…

Spray and pray or a targeted, honed marketing campaign that delivers results? I know which I would choose.


Call To Action

(normally it’d be more subtle but you know how it works!) If you enjoyed this blog post and found it useful, please:

Kara Stanford KMS MarketingAbout the author:

Kara Stanford is a Strategic Marketing Consultant at KMS Marketing helping businesses review, plan and then implement their marketing.


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