Put Your Marketing in a Playpen
People Need Structure
Recently, one of the people in my coaching group was talking about a challenging client. No matter what rules she laid out or systems she asked them to follow, they just didn't seem to listen. In my experience this isn't because they were deliberately flouting her protocol, it's more likely they are used to doing things a certain way and their way was easier...for them. This got me thinking about children. When you introduce a child into your environment, they don't know the rules. They're new to this whole thing, so they're just going to do what feels natural to them. It's not willful or deliberate, it's just the way they've always done it.
Repetition is Your Friend
Children need to be told the same thing over and over before they listen. They also will push boundaries and bend the rules to see what they can get away with. Most parents give in because "it's just easier", but this sets the precedent that rules don't have to be followed. Now, I'm not saying clients are actual children (love you all, mean it), but the parallel got me to thinking about boundaries and structure in terms of messaging.
Contain Yourself (or Your Messaging)
Marketing, like children, works best when there's structure around it. Without a plan, a strategy, a message, your marketing ends up peeing all over the bathroom, putting your favorite lipstick on the dog and drawing on the walls with a Sharpie. In other words, it's a big mess.
But when you have boundaries for your marketing and you contain it in a playpen (or a pack-n-play for you youngsters), you actually get it to behave exactly how you want it. Because you control it, not the other way around.
Consistency is Also Your Friend
If insanity is defined by doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results, I'd like to add inconsistency to that definition. When you randomly do things and expect results, well, it just doesn't work like that. I've been talking about Personality Brand for over a year now. And yet, only in the last few months has it really started to resonate with audiences and gain traction. In my mind, I feel like it must be overkill to people that I talk about it all the time, but it's my consistent message that allows that "overkill" to cut through the clutter and hit the target. So while you might feel like you're beating a dead horse with your message, I can assure you, you need to keep pounding away. (No horses were actually harmed in the use of this metaphor, nor would I wish that.) In other words, if you want your message to land, you need to repeat it ad nauseum. And then repeat it some more.
Ship That Message Off to Military School
The bottom line is that to create an effective message, you need to be disciplined about how you say it, where you say it and how often. And you need to hold fast and tight to those standards. Some ways to do this include a Brand Guide, Brand Strategy, Content Pillars or Marketing Plan (preferably all of the above). And if you don't have those things or don't even know what they are, you know what to do.