Ever notice that there are always two camps: One that wants to split things down the center and be all things to all people, and the other that is radically on one side or the other sucking down the Kool-Aid with a giant straw?

As of late I have found myself trying to be closer to the center, saying such things as you need an integrated marketing approach. I think that is a mistake. I should be asking, “What marketing venue or platform are you going to stop doing, before you start doing social media marketing?: The best way is NOT an integrated marketing approach. Businesses simply cannot add more things. More marketing equates to spending more money. A more appropriate question would be, “What are we going to stop doing in order to allow room for worn out ways to pass and new ways to emerge?”

As I observe our own small business, things really are much different than they were. We are tweeting, doing Facebook posts, writing blogs, posting pictures to Flickr and shooting You Tube videos, all in the name of selling more stuff, or at least to attract the attention of someone wanting to buy more stuff. We simply couldn’t do it if we were doing what we have always done. There aren’t enough resources, there isn’t enough time and there are not enough marketing dollars to do all things.

Sometimes as we plod along in our business we may not be completely aware of the changes that have occurred, or their impact on our resourses. We have been on the social media bandwagon for a pretty long while, and constantly tout the successes that most small businesses can enjoy by leveraging social media. I think that a lot of small businesses are doing just that and have moved from talking about social media to actually practicing social media marketing.

Over the last 36- to 48-months many things have changed, including the day-to-day tasks we fill our hours with. This bring about a burning question: If you have gotten past the Seven Fears of Social Media, and actually are employing a successful strategy, have you stopped to think about what you now are not going to do? Have you cut out direct mail? Print advertisements? Some other marketing channel or internal task? What have you done to make room for the new?

Adaptation of social media marketing promotes another problem for small business: Who is operationally responsible? Are you doing it in-house or getting some help? It seems that many small businesses are doing it in-house, which is fine. However, someone needs to ask that tough question. “What are we going to stop doing?”

As business owners, we are pretty good at adding things: A policy for this and a procedure for that. We draft up an array of “stuff” to protect us and our business from every conceivable thing that might ever happen. As a result there is binder after binder of “Stuff To Do” and we overload the front line.

Create a Stop Doing List

Cary Smith coined the phrase “Stop Doing List.” Everyone has an endless To-Do List. This is the opposite, and a great way to ferret out some room for the new tasks that social media marketing has added to your organization.

The Stop Doing List is a creative tool that will help both productivity and your personal workflow. To create a Stop Doing List, look at the tasks that you do on a regular basis and ask the question: “Does this achieve a positive outcome for all those concerned?” If the answer is “no,” this task should immediately be added to your Stop Doing List.

The next time you hear that business marketing is an integrated approach, ask the tough questions of what are you going to stop doing, because add, add, add doesn’t work.

 

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About Eric Brown

Eric Brown

Eric Brown's background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://twitter.com/vincerobisch Vince Robisch

    Eric,

    Very interesting article. Maybe another expression of this idea would be that social media is integrated with other marketing efforts if there are any left. It’s not a marketing plan conducted in a vacuum but it is not an add-on cost incapable of replacing outdated methods. Do you think that would be accurate?

    Thank you for actually contemplating the buzzwords instead of simply following them.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for stopping by Vince, Drilling down into what is working and what isn’t can get messy. Add on that social media is not a quick result further complicates the matter,

  • http://simplybusinesscoaching.com LouiseBJ

    You raise some very good questions Eric!  
    I especially like the Stop Doing List idea.  It got me wondering why we will automatically cut down (or out) buying items as part of financial budgets, yet we often don’t think of cutting down the ‘to-do’ list because of time constraints. 

    • Anonymous

      Good Morning Louis, Great point, as our To Do List costs money to produce. 

  • http://30lines.com Mike Whaling

    I’ve always liked the “Stop Doing List” … assuming that you know what is and isn’t working, and you stop doing the things that aren’t working. That said, if there are things that *are* still working well as you bring social media into the mix, I fail to see why you wouldn’t want all of those tactics working to complement each other.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Mike, Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment. “Working” can be relative, in that unless you have unlimited financial resources you simply can not and should not “do everything”, working or not, said a little differently, working at what level? 

      We see this all the time with apartment marketers, in that they are in every ILS or every book when maybe they shouldn’t be in any. 

      • http://30lines.com Mike Whaling

        I’m making the assumption that most companies aren’t doing things that are beyond their financial resources. No company can or should do everything, but I don’t think you should stop doing something that works just because a new tactic arrives on the scene. Try it, measure it, then stop doing it if it’s not getting you the return you expect.

      • http://www.serengeticommunications.com/ bethharte

        Mike, Eric,

        This is exactly why real integrated marketing (i.e. not integrated tactics) is extremely important. It keeps you from doing anything you should not be doing from the very beginning. Integration focuses on only doing the things that customers will readily respond to because they have pre-indicated what they will be responsive to (including products/services, location to purchase, cost, etc.). Integration, when done properly, saves time, resources and budget. But somehow in the past 20 years, marketing folks and agencies only took the principles of integration that were the easiest… and that was integrating tactics to be “one voice, one visual.” 

  • http://www.TheMarketingSpot.com Jay Ehret

    Eric, in addition to your suggestion of a stop doing list, I would also suggest a “why we are doing what we’re doing” list. Sometimes it’s not that we’re doing too many things, but also that we’re doing things just to be doing something.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Jay,
      Question “Why” requires an even bigger machete, however most folks lack the courage to yield it successfully, It is much easier to keep doing what you have been doing, 

  • http://nonfatadvertising.com/ Duane Christensen

    Historically, real estate professionals have ugly, horrid advertising anyway. So to stop doing print/direct mail, billboards, etc…would not affect anything except add money to their bottom line.

    Great article though. The idea that everyone should be doing and trying everything is ridiculous. Find one or two things that actually WORK…and focus efforts there. The shotgun approach doesn’t work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sjgosselin Susan Gosselin

    Love this post.  Recent study came out that companies should be doing social media in an integrated environment, not a “social media department.”  This means that with more people doing the posting and participating in an organization, and a well rounded content product.  Much like what is suggested in the new Now Revolution book.

  • http://twitter.com/KevMurphy Kevin Murphy

    Taking a step back and stopping unproductive activities is critical. Unintegrating is not. Good integration leads to cohesive stories, synergy and lots of other benefits. But don’t integrate bad marketing practices with the good.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Kevin, Thanks for chiming in. Not sure I agree, in that the whole “integration” concept doesn’t fit. For instance, how “integrated” was the Old Spice campaign, it wasn’t really, yet it was hugely successful, 

      • http://30lines.com Mike Whaling

        I think the Old Spice campaign was actually a great example of integrated marketing, Eric. A lot of people would never know about that campaign if it was limited only to YouTube. But they introduced the character through mainstream TV spots, they tied in a number of different online channels, and they documented the whole process to extend their reach via PR after the initial campaign. If that’s not integrated, I don’t know what is.

      • http://www.serengeticommunications.com/ bethharte

        The Old Spice campaign wasn’t true integrated marketing. Were the tactics integrated, of course. But it was push marketing communications, not integrated marketing. 
         

    • Anonymous

      Hi Kevin, Thanks for chiming in. Not sure I agree, in that the whole “integration” concept doesn’t fit. For instance, how “integrated” was the Old Spice campaign, it wasn’t really, yet it was hugely successful, 

  • http://mymediainfo.com/ Renee

    Great post that nearly no one ever brings up. Businesses, especially small businesses should not even try to do everything. Not only is it not possible, but the the more you do the less time you can spend on each thing.

  • http://mymediainfo.com/ Renee

    Great post that nearly no one ever brings up. Businesses, especially small businesses should not even try to do everything. Not only is it not possible, but the the more you do the less time you can spend on each thing.

  • http://mymediainfo.com/ Renee

    Great post that nearly no one ever brings up. Businesses, especially small businesses should not even try to do everything. Not only is it not possible, but the the more you do the less time you can spend on each thing.

  • http://mymediainfo.com/ Renee

    Great post that nearly no one ever brings up. Businesses, especially small businesses should not even try to do everything. Not only is it not possible, but the the more you do the less time you can spend on each thing.

  • http://mymediainfo.com/ Renee

    Great post that nearly no one ever brings up. Businesses, especially small businesses should not even try to do everything. Not only is it not possible, but the the more you do the less time you can spend on each thing.

  • http://mymediainfo.com/ Renee

    Great post that nearly no one ever brings up. Businesses, especially small businesses should not even try to do everything. Not only is it not possible, but the the more you do the less time you can spend on each thing.

  • IMC Guy

    I think you are confusing integrated marketing with integrated tactics. Integrated marketing is a customer-centric (putting the customer at the center of the organization) and data-driven model for marketing. By thinking that you are pursuing an integrated marketing approach simply by integrating across channels, you put yourself at risk of wasting precious resources, time, and budget.

    Instead of asking ““What marketing venue or platform are you going to stop doing, before you start doing social media marketing?” or “What are we going to stop doing in order to allow room for worn out ways to pass and new ways to emerge?” why not asking the following question

    Who is our customers and/or consumers?
    When are they open to messages and through which channels?
    How do they wish to respond/interact with our brand?

    If you follow this path, your consumers will tell you what channels you should keep, improve on or throw out.  

    • http://www.serengeticommunications.com/ bethharte

      Eric, 

      IMC Guy shared my sentiments exactly. :) Indeed, a lot of folks are confusing integrated tactics with integrated marketing, which is as he said based on customer-centric (or customer-driven in some spaces) and data-driven planning, marketing, and measurement. Unfortunately, a lot of people use the term “marketing” when what they are actually referring to is “communications or promotions.”  That’s one reason why there is confusion around “social media marketing,” which often isn’t “marketing.” Social media tactics should never be the heart of a company’s marketing strategy. That said, can social media tools be used to help deliver new insights to a company for their marketing strategy? Of course! It is one way to get insights into product innovation, cost opportunity insights, etc. But it should never be the sole source, that would be a huge mistake. 

      Cheers,
      Beth Harte
      @bethharte

      • Anonymous

        mar·ket·ing/ˈmärkitiNG/Noun: mar·ket·ing/ˈmärkitiNG/Noun: The action or business of promoting and selling products or services.  Beth, Hello, Thank you for stopping by, I question your approach to complicating what should be simple. To a business owner, at least this business owner (me), marketing is selling more stuff to more people for more money, or as stated by Webster; The action or business of promoting and selling products or services. It really does just fall into a simple marketing bucket for most SMB.Although the point of the post was to reflect on Stop Doing verses Add, Add, Add, I appreciate everyones angle on the semantics of marketing, but at the end of the day, If we aren’t selling more stuff, it is just a hobby. Hobbies are good and fun, but they don’t pay the freight. 

        • http://www.serengeticommunications.com/ bethharte

          Eric, integrated marketing is very simple. What isn’t simple is adding the complexity of thinking that more and different promotions are the way to sell more. It isn’t. The point of integration is that a business NEVER “adds” more than what their customers require to buy more. In fact, integrated marketing is the BEST marketing solution for an SMB because it saves them precious time, resources, budget and energy. :) 
          P.S. Your marketing definition isn’t quite correct. It only address one of the four Ps…promotion. Here’s a better one for you:

          Marketing: A total system of business activities designed to plan, price, promote, and distribute customer-oriented want satisfying products to target markets to achieve organizational objectives. (Etzel, et al) 

          If we look at the definition from an integration perspective, the four P’s become: Customer, Cost, Communications and Convenience. If a small business can zero in on these four things, they will NEVER need to worry again about having a “Stop Doing List.” And that is a thing of beauty!! 

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual Business Assistant

    I think the best way to build your brand awareness is to
    continuously advertise on one place or to one group of people. Because small
    business  have limited advertising
    dollars, cannot advertise every where. Hence we need to focus building brand
    awareness on one place, and then really engage with the people/customers there.
     

  • http://thepracticalmom.com Mom Blogs

    Great advice. I feel like there are definitely things I’m still doing just because I’ve always done them, but looking more clearly at the big picture I probably don’t need to anymore.

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  • http://twitter.com/roundpeg Lorraine Ball

    Good marketing has always been about making smart choices.  There are just more choices now.   Social media, like any other tool is not one size fits all, and an integrated approach brings together all of what you are doing in an organized manner.  It is not about doing everything.

  • http://twitter.com/HotSpotPromo Darlene Hull

    Great points here.  It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by trying to keep up with everything!  You need to find out what’s working for you and your specific niche, and let the rest fall away.  Do exceptionally well with the 2-3 most effective things, and the rest won’t matter.  Thanks for this great article.

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