Is your marketing more Louis Walsh than Nick Grimshaw?

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It’s been all change over the past few weeks at some of television’s biggest programmes – Clarkson out at Top Gear and Chris Evans in; Louis Walsh and Dermot O’Leary gone from X Factor, ushering in Nick Grimshaw, Rita Ora and Olly Murs.

For whatever reason, one thing had become clear – these popular programmes needed to be refreshed in order to retain their popularity and win over new audiences. And brands are no different. Businesses that fail to embrace change as part of its DNA will find that no matter how they deploy their marketing spend, the brand will always be at risk of appearing stale to its customer base.

This doesn’t mean a major step change from your core position – in fact, too great a change can do as much damage as no change at all – but to achieve the level of engagement that you need in what is a fast moving business landscape, creativity and imagination in your marketing around your key business values and messages is crucial.

This might mean not playing things as safely as you’re used to. If you want your brand to be noticed, marketing activity that is as imaginative as wallpaper will not help you achieve it. Your marketing needs to demonstrate the energy, creativity, innovation and, perhaps, humour with which you want it to be associated – and targeted at those most likely to engage with you. Don’t worry about appealing to the masses if the masses are never going to form that core groups capable of making an impact on your bottom line.

Achieving stand-out carries risks but unless you take those risks, with all risks considered, all you will be doing is adding to the white noise of marketing that can be all-pervasive. The story you want to tell may not be different to before but the way in which you tell it certainly should be.

So we say follow these key principles:

Be clear on who you want to target and focus only on those who will be interested in your products or services, and then identify all of the potential touchpoints where you can engage with them.

Engage with them on their terms – speak the language of their requirements, their benefits, their challenges and explain how you can meet those. The days when you can try and get your target customers to fit their needs with what you’re selling are long gone.

Make it personal – brand values are only useful if you can show how they benefit (in practice as well as theory) your target audience.

This may require an investment (in time as much as money) to ensure that you really know what your customers want. Your marketing should be structured based on these insights so that by engaging with those most likely to be interested in engaging with you, your marketing activity can be as efficient as it is creative. It’s the businesses that do this that are the ones that have the X Factor. The others are unlikely to make it to judges’ houses let alone the live shows.

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