When and how to try new marketing ideas, especially in the face of colleagues & clients who are reluctant to take chances, is something we all struggle with. I certainly have.
But I had a little thought. Has anyone tried stealing some language from investment advisors and positioning marketing ideas using risk vs reward tradeoffs? Investment companies generally profile their funds on a continuum from Safety (low risk, low return) to Balanced (medium risk, medium return) to Aggressive Growth (high risk, high return). And they usually recommend that people keep a mix of funds in the portfolio. At least, the people that I keep my $4.70 in savings with do.
That seems like an intuitive way of talking about a marketing plan as well. It's OK to base a marketing plan around some low-risk tactics, but we should make sure everyone understands that low risk also inevitably means low return. On the other hand, trying something radical and new has higher risk, but it also has the potential for higher returns.
A good marketing plan probably also needs a diverse mix of the safe and the radical. Do some stuff that you know will work, either because you've done it before or because you've tested it to your level of comfort. I've often found that having a few safe & familiar options covered off gives
clients (and agencies) the comfort to try something more radical with another part of
their budget. Then use that to try things that can't be tested, something that no one has done before, where you can only guess whether it will work. Those are the things that might just pay off with exponential growth.
Is that a useful way of seeing things? It's probably not all that original. Maybe someone's
already written a management book about it. But even if it's not new I figure it's worth reminding ourselves that there's no such thing as a low-risk,
I guess this also suggests an approach for the client-agency relationship: starting the marketing planning process with a discussion, much as an investment advisor would, about their comfort with risk and their long-term goals.
I should make clear I'm talking about tactics here, assuming that the strategic underpinnings are solid. Whatever direction we choose, there's no substitute for a good understanding of the problem, insights, target and objectives.