The Definition of Insanity: How to Know When to Pull the Plug on Your Marketing and Try Something New


Is your marketing driving you nuts? There's an adage that's often attributed to Einstein about the nature of insanity: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” While the influential physicist might not have actually been the one to say this, that doesn't make it any less true, nor does it mean it isn't applicable to your marketing.

In today's post, we'll talk about how to tell if your marketing is working so that if necessary, you can begin to adjust your strategy now and have a firm plan in place for this year's marketing to be both sane and successful.

How to Know: You're Not Getting Results

Before really diving into this, we need to point out that radio advertising doesn't always lend itself to immediate results. In fact, the desire for instant marketing gratification is the first in our 12 Causes of Advertising Failure. How long it takes for your marketing to generate meaningful results will vary not only by channel, but by the type of campaign you're running. Some campaigns will garner results in 90 days, but others could take 6 months or more! It's critical your strategy includes reasonable goals you can track, as well as a media partner that understands your market and your goals, and will track them to help you meet your objectives. If your media partner isn't doing that, then you do need to try something new, namely a new media partner that will help your brand succeed, like Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group. 

Now, if you've got good goals in place and the proper methods to track them, then you need to take a real look at the results. Are you pouring in money but the campaign still isn't hitting its benchmarks or coming close to its goals? This is the clearest sign you can get that you need to start trying something new. Look at your market research with fresh eyes and talk to your media partner about why the strategy isn't effective. For example, when it comes to gauging whether your radio campaign is successful, you can look at whether your creative is ineffective for generating new leads.

How to Know: You're Using the Same Tactics Again, and Again, and Again…

The unfortunate truth about marketing is this: It takes time, frequency and consistency. There is a point to which you need to put your message out on the same channels over and over in order to see results, and that means it's only that much more difficult to see when you've passed the point where the time you're spending on a particular method or channel is the responsible thing to do. Sometimes, this requires a little perspective, and it may mean looking across multiple campaigns to understand what's missing the mark.

To make things a little more complicated, the fact that a channel seems to be ineffective might not automatically mean the channel needs to be abandoned, either. It could be the approach you're taking to that channel needs to be changed. For example, do your TV or radio ads still feature a phone number for interested customers to call? That's no longer a good way to generate leads because the changes in the customer's decision journey mean they want to find information about your brand in their own time, and they don't want to be connected directly to a brand employee ready to give them a sales pitch, especially if they're at the beginning of that journey. Using creative that integrates traditional formats like TV and radio with digital formats — e.g., hashtags or vanity URLs that are easily remembered (and easy to track!) — will go much further in engaging customers and building brand trust. 

What to Do if You're Not Sure What to Do

First and foremost, you need to take a solid look at your Marketing Bridge. You can have amazing marketing and be tracking all the right things in the right way, but if the rest of your Marketing Bridge is weak, none of that will matter. Advertising is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to seeing your customer base grow and a lift in your revenue. Take a look at our free download that explains the Marketing Bridge and touches on each of the critical factors.

Another way to find solutions when you're not sure what to do next is, quite simply, to talk to the professionals. As experts in their field, your marketing partner should be on top of the latest marketing trends and understand the more complicated aspects of marketing, like attribution and how it's reflected in ROI. They will not only be able to help you identify the weak points in your marketing strategy, but they can help you develop effective marketing creative across platforms and key in to problems that are coming from outside your marketing efforts. For example, at Zimmer, we'll take the time to understand our clients needs and goals, then train them and their employees about the Marketing Bridge and the evolving path to purchase. This helps our clients ensure that the 80% of the Marketing Bridge they're solely responsible for is actually working. 

With these two insights about how to tell if your marketing is working, you should be able to move forward with auditing your strategy and ensure you and your team are taking the sane approach. Don't make the same mistakes in this year's marketing — change your strategy now so you can see real success later.


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