I am surprised about how many marketers know their companies spend a good portion of their budgets on status quo marketing programs.  And, it is just amazing to me that so much of the marketing mix is spent with rationale like, “That’s what we’ve always done,” or “My boss loves ‘IT” – the ‘IT’ is a particular strategy or tactic their companies have used for years.  Maybe ‘IT’ is a trade show or television ad or direct mail.  The crazy part is when I ask how successful the spend is, I often hear, “Well, ‘IT’ must be working or we wouldn’t be doing ‘IT.”  Or, “We’ve gotta be there, our competition is there,” or, “IT’ is just the cost of doing business.”

Really?  What happened to spending marketing dollars because it set up an actual sale?

How many times have you been to trade shows and saw absolutely no one in a booth, except the sales people?  Or maybe even worse, a booth full of people because they had a magician or a group of attractive people or some kind of entertainment that temporarily drew people from the aisles onto the carpet for about 5 minutes and then they’re gone?  And, when photos show up of the week in Vegas at the XYZ trade show, they always show a full booth.  That makes everyone happy at corporate and the marketing spend is rationalized and the decision maker isn’t afraid of losing his/her job .  They think, “Hey, we’ve done that show for 5 years and each year it makes it through budgeting, so it must work.”

As marketers, we need to challenge the status quo, we need to ask questions, and we need to hold ourselves accountable as to how we are spending the shareholder’s money.  Using excuses like, “That is the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t get you promoted, grow your brand or fulfill your career.

I heard recently that the number one motivator is being proud of the work we do.  How proud can anyone be just doing the status quo?  Challenge the status quo and you just might find a new strategy that really moves your brand.  Try it today.  Ask these simple questions in your next marketing meeting…Why are we focusing on this strategy?  How does it help us to grow our brand/company?  Have we looked at all alternatives?

Don’t be afraid! It is the right thing to do!