Unfortunately, I did not come up with the term “spaghetti marketing.” The credit for that rests with one of my friends on Google+, Pam Adger. A recent post of hers talked about spaghetti marketing and why it’s a bad idea.
After reading her post, I thought to myself “Wow, most insurance agents/agencies (including me) practice spaghetti marketing on a daily basis. What a waste.”
The definition of Spaghetti Marketing
A marketing “strategy” that takes the form of “let’s throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.”
Which, if you haven’t guessed by now, isn’t much of a strategy.
My personal experience with Spaghetti Marketing
When I started online in 2009, I clearly had no idea of what I was doing. My blog posts weren’t written very well, my social media posts were less than engaging and I lacked any semblance of a clear strategy. I simply jumped in with both feet and started putting stuff out there. Which, in the beginning, is part of the normal learning process. I encourage you to do so. Otherwise you’ll never learn.
But as you go along and start to get a bit more serious in the hopes your online activity can make you a buck or two, spaghetti marketing is no longer useful. And as a business, isn’t that always the hope of online marketing- that your messages resonate with your audience and spur them them to take action, whether that’s a phone call, an email, a form completed or the 800 other possible actions someone could take? But at the end of the day, you want them to do SOMETHING and hopefully that SOMETHING puts a little money in your pocket.
It’s just recently that I decided that Spaghetti Marketing is a terrible waste of time and resources (read money). Here’s why…..
It wastes lots of time
Without an overarching strategy, your marketing is scattered. You’ll do anything that sounds good. When it’s scattered, you work harder to come up with ideas and then attempt to pull it all together at the end. So within the next few months, I will have a marketing plan/strategy that clearly lays out the handful of messages I want to communicate in 2015. That strategy will be broken down into sections as to media choice (yes we still do traditional marketing such as radio and newspaper), and types of content to use to spread the message (ad, video, blog post, email blast, Facebook post, etc.)
It’s important to note I’ve hired two consultants to do the above. Why? Because they can simply do a better job than I can alone. And they’re also way smarter than me on these subjects. I know what I’m good at. So I will continue to do what I’m good at and I will let them do what they are good at.
What if hiring a consultant is not possible for you? No worries. You can do the same as them. Take one message you want to spread. Choose the media you want to use. Create the content. Can’t do it all yourself? Get your staff involved. Ask for their help. You might be surprised that your CSR is a great writer and enjoys it. Or another likes to put together the Facebook posts.
The point is simply this: when you laser focus on the message(s) you want to spread, and create an editorial calendar that specifies when and how you’ll spread that message, you will save a lot of time. Period.
It wastes lots of money
If I had the money I’ve spent on advertising and marketing the past 5 years………..
Needless to say it’s a ton. And all because I didn’t take the time to dig down and figure out the key messages I wanted to spread and how that was going to be accomplished.
I’ve wasted a lot of money. But no more. Now I’ll have a very clear direction of where my money is going and why. And after reviewing the analytics, I’ll have an even better idea of where I SHOULD be spending my marketing dollars. Which leads me to my next point….
It provides a very inconsistent measurement tool
And when you want to know if your dollars are well spent, the only way you’ll know this is by measuring the results. Period. I’ve been terrible about measurement. Looking at Google Analytics without a clear idea of what I’m looking for is like looking at a letter written in German (which I don’t read or write). If it doesn’t say bratwurst, I’m clueless. But again, that is going to change.
By tying together the annual marketing message(s) with the daily/weekly/monthly content, you can easily figure out the response you want your audience to take. And then you can measure it to determine how successful it was. And if it wasn’t successful, you can try to figure out why it flopped and try again or try a different piece of content. Yes, some of this is still experimentation, but it’s experimentation with a purpose.
Here’s a marketing strategy you can use right now
If you’re looking for an example of a strategy to help you understand all of this, here’s one you can swipe and use.
Marketing Message: Our agency is community-oriented
Pictures are KEY here. Go through your pictures and find any picture that has office staff at a community event or any events you host at your office. And if you have few, this is a big clue you need to start taking pictures. Could be a board meeting, golf outing, safety event, customer appreciation day, the list is endless.
Post one picture once per week on your Facebook page, Pinterest page and Instagram. Again, these are all agency accounts, not personal. Include a call to action on each post, such as “We take care of our community, let us take care of you. Call us at (XXX) XXX-XXXX or visit www.yourwebsite.com/landing page today!”
As to measurement, make sure your staff asks anyone who calls how they heard of your agency and write it down. You should be able to also access the landing page on Google Analytics and see where the traffic is coming from. I know it can be more sophisticated than this, and I don’t profess to know the exact step-by-step sequence. Again, you’ll have to find someone smarter than me to go over the techie stuff 😉
But even this strategy is 100 times better than “throwing it up against the wall and seeing if it sticks.”
If you remember nothing else from this post remember this:
You DON’T have to go balls to the wall like me. For some it’s simply not possible. But instead, pick ONE thing. And create from there. One thing is better than NO-thing.