I was at an industry event recently. It was the usual – a speaker and an audience in rows and rows of chairs. I sat down next to a guy who, it turned out, was wearing too much cologne. Way too much. I like cologne as much as the next girl, but it was nausea-inducing and I had to get up and leave.
It got me thinking about how a company’s communications efforts are a lot like wearing cologne or perfume. You need the right amount – too little and you get nothing from it, too much and you scare away your target audience. Think about the love sick teenager who douses himself in cologne in hopes of appealing to the ladies. He thinks that if some is good, more is better. But it never works, does it?
That’s a lesson for communications in your marketing plan. More is not necessarily better. You want the right amount of the right things. What those things are and what amount is right will depend on a few factors.
The 2 most important factors are your company’s level of marketing sophistication and your target market’s media habits:
- If your company is a marketing maven, has been marketing for years, communicating with thoughtful and valuable content, then you have a lot of leeway. You still need to gauge the right frequency of communications for different types of customers and prospects, but you may have the opportunity to up your frequency and get a positive response. If on the other hand you haven’t said a word to customers or prospects in the last 2 years and you’re brushing the spider webs off your content-creation machine, then you’ll need to be careful about launching a weekly enewsletter. It’s too much, too soon for your audience and for your company.
- The other factor to consider is your audience’s media habits. Some segments of the market are voracious in their consumption of news. Think of that same cologne-laden teenager’s ability to consumer Facebook updates, text messages and YouTube videos. At the other end of the spectrum might be the CEO of a privately held industrial company. His ability to digest updates from you several times a month, let alone day, is much less. When you’re planning your marketing communications, think about that customer and how often he might want to hear from you. If you feel like it’s too much, it is.
It’s rare that a company over-markets. But in your enthusiasm to get your 2011 marketing off to a big bang, don’t make the mistake of splashing on too much marketing cologne.