Lesson number one of a good marketer’s playbook is to never ‘spray and pray’. It’s the kind of phrase or belief that if you ever uttered out loud as a driving factor of your business, anyone in marketing, PR communications or media would shrink away like you had just told an unsavoury joke. Yet somehow - against all odds - it has become an everyday occurrence in media strategy.
Somehow we have let it slip past our base instincts because, how else do you manage media in so many different formats and channels? The answer may seem complicated but it’s not; you need to sacrifice to succeed – or, as we call it, sacrifice and overcommit
With the number of media platforms growing exponentially year on year, advertising and marketing have been shattered into fragments, with companies trying to be everywhere at once in the hope of catching as many audiences as possible. At Electric Glue, we find this whole notion of ‘fragmental’ media coming through more and more in questions that we get asked by our clients.
- One such question is about how they can stand out in a media world of multiple choice in which £50m is spent every single day in the UK. Your £10m budget may well sound a healthy amount but can easily become a whisper in the crowd!
- Another relates to the (now) age old debate around the investment levels into brand building versus short term performance. If the answer is (and it is by the way) that you don’t do either/or but you do both, the question becomes more about how you glue top funnel exponential long-term growth activity with incremental short-term sales driving. Literally bridging between brand desire and brand fulfilment.
- Another regular refrain is about how clients can keep their brands safe, and truly have full transparency on where their money is invested (and that means demonstrable transparency as opposed to an endless profession of an intent that is never realised).
All of these questions are fair, reasonable, and maybe unsurprising given the straightjackets of modern media practices that leave strategy looking increasingly like a football centre half trying to avoid conceding a penalty.
Thankfully, when it comes to creativity, many clients are still aware of its power within the marketing mix. And some (sadly fewer rather than many) will be aware that media can, and often does, suffocate creativity - constraining it to a dilution of an idea that is fit for purpose in a media agency trading matrix rather than unleashing it in all its glory to drive brand fame and enduring success. Given the understanding of the value of an idea in the first place, they know this is akin to kicking themselves in the cobblers whilst unable to see a way around it. Especially when creative agencies and media agencies are often not on each other’s Christmas card lists.
But we think the answer is simple: sacrifice and overcommit. Sacrifice the number of platforms you put your energy into and overcommit to a few. This way, you avoid diluting your resources and ideas, and can deliver much more of an impact. Truly, less becomes more, the fewer the merrier. The media owner that you commit to also becomes a vested partner in the process and therefore supports the strategy in a disproportionate way.
And don’t forget to bring the creative partners into the fold so that the ‘sacrifice and overcommit’ approach can focus on bringing the creative work to life across the media owner ecosystem, enabling the idea to flourish and become multi-purposeful - creating both awareness and consideration in a contextual and glued-in way.
It may sound scary. But you know what, the last six years of our business and our clients’ businesses have proved that it works.
Simon Orpin is co-founder and CEO of Electric Glue. In a series of columns over the next few months, he will be exploring their core values of sacrificing and overcommitting - and why he believes this strategy can help every business in today’s advertising landscape.