Every month we throw a shady or outdated practice, dose of snake oil or over-hyped buzzword into the special place in marketing hell that is the Rockstar CMO Swimming Pool. This month, Ian Truscott is inspired by Wendy Bryant-Beswick, VP of Marketing at Service Credit Union, and ponders if time is up for ‘one and done’ marketing. Don’t agree? Tweet us!

Rock stars have a reputation for throwing things into the swimming pool at the slightest provocation and when I went backstage for a Q&A with award-winning marketer Wendy Bryant-Beswick, VP of Marketing at Service Credit Union, it didn’t take much encouragement for her to suggest that ‘one and done marketing’ needed to be flung off the Rockstar CMO penthouse balcony to its chlorinated demise.   

Here’s what Wendy shared with me:

“‘One and done marketing’ is no longer relevant. Marketing today is about being nimble and being able to optimize while you’re live. Gone are the days of launching an initiative without optimizing.”

Can I get a witness? Oh yes!

This is marketing. It’s agile.

With a small ‘a’ – none of this Agile Marketing bollocks. 

For me, in this era of marketing, saying agile marketing is like saying empathetic nursing. You expect a nurse to have empathy, we should not need to be teaching marketers to be agile. 

I’m not hating on those that preach or teach Agile Marketing, it just shouldn’t be necessary. If you look at all of the business disciplines within an enterprise, marketing has ALWAYS been the most agile, way easier to change a campaign than a product or industrial process. 

Sure, like every part of a commercial organization the timeframes have compressed, in every discipline the data has got better, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain have benefited from automation and it’s the same for marketing. 

But, it’s still the same agile discipline it’s always been. Oh and we chucked this Agile Marketing snake oil in the Swimming Pool already.

Sure, we love our models, our matrixes, our content plans, our journey maps, the planned budget for the quarter (after the next two) and the creative process is often long, maybe difficult and we grow to love and be vested in the work. 

“We need to strike a match under our work when it doesn’t fit the brand, the direction you’re headed or the audience doesn’t care as much as you do and it simply isn’t working.”

But we need to be ready to strike a match under all of that when the world turns, when it doesn’t fit the brand, the direction you are headed or the audience doesn’t care as much as you do, when it simply isn’t working. The data is unfeeling and it can be cruel. 

I hesitate to use the term, but it’s kinder on you and your team if you ‘drown your own babies’ and move on, maybe with the tweak of optimization that Wendy refers to, or maybe it’s time for something new. As all the best motivational writers write, often shared with a fancy gif: It’s not a failure, it’s a lesson.

You still need a plan, a direction, a set of goals and metrics, because lord knows there are enough execution marketers, running hard on the marketing hamster wheel, performing incoherent random acts of marketing.

And, if they don’t let you play with matches in your office, your plan should be written in pencil, or on the whiteboard (having, of course, done the obligatory pen test of a small mark and seeing if you can rub it off with your finger).

What you are doing is a beta of the better campaign you will do next. 

Some of this is about giving yourself the time and headspace to reflect and look at the performance, to think about what could be done better, rather than constantly being focused on the execution of the next thing. 

As a former colleague and now VP and CEE at SocialBakers Egon Wilcsek recently shared on LinkedIn:

“Plan, execute, measure, restart on step one.” 

And in my opinion, each step should get as much focus as the next.

So… Yes. 

With a big push, dusty old ‘one and done marketing’ has briefly had the opportunity to fly, but the splash suggested it didn’t quite nail the landing. 

Agree? Disagree? Let our Rockstars hear from you and leave a comment… 

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