Thursday, October 25, 2012

Baseball and marketing.

Years ago, when I was in the full and strapping bloom of youth, I was a mediocre baseball player on a skein of mediocre baseball teams. There's nothing like being mediocre at something you love to inspire you to work harder. Or to find something else you love that you're actually good at. Or both.

In any event, me and my team-mates would often find ourselves down by seven runs with but one inning left to play. The coach, at that point, would invariably tell us as we approached the plate for our "last licks," to not worry about winning the game with one swing. Instead, we should just try to put the bat on the ball, get on base and slowly from there get hit after hit and that way try to claw our way back into the game.

I think that counts as a sound strategy.

Today, however, our "coaches," that is the ideologues, strategists, administrators and technocrats that run advertising agencies, approach such dilemmas with a different, less realistic sort of strategy.

They say the equivalent of, "you hit a double. You, a triple. You, a double." And so on.

In other words, they look at the variables of life and marketing as if all the lights will turn green on demand.

Unfortunately, best case scenarios seldom happen.

You seldom, if ever, go viral.

If you work on a toilet paper account, people will rarely start a conversation about your brand. No matter the cleverness of your "hash tag."

What seems to be missing, as it's missing in my double-triple-double baseball strategy above is a heaping teaspoon of reality.

That is reality based marketing.

Marketing that doesn't magically rely on the ephemeral promise of "earned" media.

Marketing takes work. And costs money.

It should not include fairy tales and fantasy.

To that end, my friends at Sell! Sell! had this Venn Diagram on their blog yesterday.  I don't generally steal things from other blogs, but this was way too good to pass over.