Originally published on Forbes.com by Forbes Agency Council on February 14, 2019.
Marketing trends come and go, and some are more successful than others. What many companies don’t realize, however, is that certain marketing fads, no matter how “hot” they are at the time, simply don’t work for certain brands.
If you want to successfully market your business, you’ll have to experiment with techniques that make sense for your company. The last thing you want to do is invest a lot of time and money into a tactic just because “everyone else is doing it,” only to discover it was a total miss with your audience.
Below, 11 members of Forbes Agency Council share important questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to adopt or ignore a popular marketing trend.
1. Can We Apply Good Marketing Basics To This Trend?
In my 15-year digital marketing career, the methods have stayed the same but the mediums have changed. It is all about sticking with the basics and making the visitors’ likes and dislikes the most important thing. If you simply listen to customers it makes it easy to adapt. But what I have found is that it is all the same marketing methods, you’re just presenting it in a different way on different outlets. – Justin Christianson, Conversion Fanatics
2. Does It Match Our Customers’ Interests?
Most new trends are worth evaluating. But before acting on it, take time to see if it aligns with your customers’ behaviors and interests. If your customers are not early adopters or tech-savvy, there is no reason to jump into the latest social platform. However, if you rely on teens and young adults for your livelihood, it is import to have a budget set aside for testing out the latest tools. – Korena Keys, KeyMedia Solutions
3. What Is The Cost Versus Potential Return?
Assuming that you have a well-defined brand position and your marketing strategy is based on meeting measurable objectives, you can easily determine if a tactic (no matter how trendy) is a fit for you. How is your target responding to the trend? What’s the cost of the tactic? What’s the potential return? Is the return greater than a proven tactic? Can you stay on brand? If yes, test and measure! – Jacquelyn LaMar, VI Marketing and Branding
4. Does It Already Align With Our Existing Strategy?
In Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about great companies that did not go after every new technology. They selectively used technologies fitting their business strategy (hedgehog concept). Marketing trends behave the same. The most important thing to consider is: Does that trend fit your marketing strategy? Can you reach the right audience with the right message at the right time? If yes, then test. – Marcia Barnes, Valve+Meter Performance Marketing
5. How Will It Impact Our Ability To Grow?
For many of our clients, reaching revenue goals and achieving return on investment is what matters most when it comes to marketing. When looking at new marketing trends, these organizations should consider how the trend impacts their ability to grow their business, find more customers and drive revenue. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
6. Will It Effectively Reach Our End User?
We all talk about being where your potential customers are in terms of reaching them. That is important, but it’s more important to be where they are going to actually buy. For example, employ retargeting as a strategy to follow people who visited your website and social media properties so you can ping them when and where they are going to buy (via online purchase). – Tom La Vecchia, MBA, X Factor Media
7. Can We Still Tell Our Authentic Story?
You have to make sure you are not a victim of the trend. Focus on the storytelling and dialogues you want to have with your consumer first, then decide what the best vehicle is to get you there. If you can use a marketing trend and still tell an authentic story for your brand, go for it! But if not, don’t let the trend be more important than your storytelling. Consumers will notice. – Jessica Reznick, We’re Magnetic
8. Do We Have The Capacity To Execute On This Tactic?
What will it take to actually execute it? Do you have the infrastructure in place to support? How much of an investment (people and money) will be needed to execute? Take web-powered direct mail for example. If you are already engaged in direct mail, then it is easy to implement this new “hot” new marketing trend. If not, there may be an additional level of investment needed to take advantage. – Lori Paikin, NaviStone®
9. Can We Do It Well?
When the entire marketing world says to jump headfirst into a new trend, you should consider if you have the capacity, ability and desire to do it well. Starting a podcast, for example, is pointless if you can’t pull it off. Find the trends that your team can tackle triumphantly and you’ll attract business for your efforts, which is the point of going after marketing trends in the first place. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative
10. Do Our Clients Think It’s A Good Idea?
Check with your clients to find out what they see as the future needs of their industry. Don’t be scared about asking questions. Listen to your clients, and ask what the next years may look like to them and how their business needs may change. General trends can give you interesting insights, but real conversations with people involved in the field allow you to contextualize those trends and develop more specific plans. – Daniela Pavan, The Ad Store New York
11. Will It Really Drive Sales?
The most important thing to consider is whether the “hot” trend is actually solving something for the consumer. Our industry is notorious for getting caught up in what’s hot before making sure the end consumer cares. Yes, as a marketer we can say we were first with some new technology, but if it doesn’t drive sales, who cares? – Brian McHale, Brandience