Rules may be made to be broken, but here are seven sins that you cannot afford to commit when you are creating FAME for your insight company. (In our last post, we learned about our FAME model: We start with a strong Foundation, doing situation analysis and research, then we help understand and target your Audience, develop a strong Marketing plan, and finally deliver it via skilled Execution. All these elements are crucial to the success of your communications.)
1. Thou shalt not be prideful.
A lot of insights companies need to eat a bit of humble pie. Are you really that different from everyone else? Many agencies see everyone else as a competitor (a positioning problem in itself), refuse to play nicely in the sandpit, don’t share their knowledge, don’t join associations, don’t take part in industry events, or talk to industry publications – they feel they are ‘above’ all that. This approach is all very well while business is booming, but when times become leaner or you want to grow to sell, who will you reach out to? Make sure you look at your competitors and context regularly, and hone your positioning to be sure you really are coming across as different.
2. Thou shalt not ignore your own evidence.
I’m like a broken record on this one, but given that the business of insights is all about gathering and analysing data and evidence, it is truly shocking how little research researchers do on themselves. Whether it is customer IDIs, reaching out to the media, or reviewing client satisfaction monitors, it is always important to integrate learnings and preferably to use an unbiased third party to gather such evidence. Not only this, but most agencies happily ignore their own Google Analytics, newsletter, or sales tracking data and base decisions on gut feel. How would you respond if one of your clients did the same?
3. Thou shalt not be a quitter.
I have had several potential clients tell me that their marketing team is failing because they aren’t getting the results they anticipated. On further enquiry, it turns out they sent one newsletter/Tweet/LinkedIn post or what-have-you, didn’t get the results they envisioned, and so canned it for the future. This is extreme, and not a sound course of action. Take the response to your efforts as a learning opportunity every time. Test and try, try again. Change out the content, headlines, CTAs, design, images, layout. Test again. Be resilient and build a body of evidence and only then will you know what works for you and your clients.
4. Thou shalt not lust after the glamour of glossy publications.
When it comes to finding fame, it’s always good to shoot for the stars; we all want to believe that we are the ones who will make a seismic shift in the industry. Landing on the cover of Forbes might be your dream, but you need to work towards that (and by the way, do not confuse being a paid contributor to Forbes with the real editorial deal). Start with your trade media and establish relationships with them. Then, move on to the vertical business media, the marketing and business press (if relevant), and finally the nationals and broadcast media. You will need to have exactly the right story every time. It can take years. So be a realist and stick with it.
5. Thou shalt not cut corners.
In insights, as in many B2B environments, marketing is relegated to the colouring-in department. How often have interns been promoted to ‘head of marketing’ with no experience or qualifications? Or left to run social media channels with disastrous consequences? The irony of this is often lost on those in insights who give evidence-based marketing advice to clients all the time but fail to apply that advice to themselves. Invest in qualified and experienced people and actually spend money on getting your brand out there.
6. Thou shalt not undermine those helping you.
So, you finally decided to hire that marketing manager or bring in that agency. But now, you need to up your communication with them. There is no point in hiring someone to be in charge of your communications, and then failing to communicate with them. It’s extraordinary how often we have been belted and braced by a resilient NDA, and still have to work hard to winkle financial data and targets out of our client partners. Be open; be honest. Otherwise, it’s really hard for your agency or your marketing team to help.
7. Thou shalt not rush.
All of this will take some time. Don’t expect everything to land at your feet at once. Take a step back and remember that there are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to your marketing. Getting fame will take time and money, but if you keep at it, it will happen. You’re in this for the long haul.
And there you have it, my seven sins of marketing your insights company. However, if you are an insights client and want to know how to get more impact for your insights and for your insights team with your stakeholders, I’ll be carving those seven sins into a rock near you soon!