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Great Marketing - The Million Piece Jigsaw
(Article first published in March '11. It has been modified slightly to suit its publication on our site)
I was just listening to the radio and came across a business discussion in which a branding expert was talking about marketing. I know the guy and he is a very knowledgeable and eloquent speaker. He was talking about how important perfection is in marketing. The importance of focusing on fonts and not using lots of them or choosing and sticking to a specific colour or colours for your branding, etc. Everything he said was correct but as he spoke, something struck me like never before.
Marketing is like a million-piece jigsaw and most people think that to be successful in business you need to finish the whole jigsaw.
The fact is that "finishing the jigsaw" is only possible for large corporate companies with hundreds of staff and huge budgets and even then they rarely get beyond the 900 thousandth piece! The reality for the rest of us is that we have to make do with completing a fraction of the jigsaw. So how can SMEs be successful without completing the jigsaw? Quite easily actually - stop worrying about the whole picture!
Just like a jigsaw, marketing is about the pieces. But each form of marketing is not a single piece, but a cluster of pieces that make up a small part of the picture. Therefore, don't worry about the million pieces and simply focus on the 50 pieces that make up one recognisable part of the whole picture.
This is very important, so take note, because I am coming back to the branding expert's point. You have to tackle your "marketing jigsaw" in a consistent manner.
Have you ever watched someone who loves jigsaws working on one? There is a specific methodology to it and typically they start by finding and completing all the edge pieces. Not so hard because of the straight edges. Then once that is done they begin to put all the other similar pieces into different piles, sky, grass, flowers, etc.
They then choose a pile and begin to create small clusters of images and ultimately this allows them to attach small clusters to each other to create larger blocks and so on until the jigsaw is complete.
If you approach your marketing in the same way, you would do well. The edge pieces are your overall plan; what are the things that you should do in a perfect world with endless budgets. List everything out and ignore what's possible for now. Then start thinking about each activity and start pulling the individual pieces together for that. Your website for example requires many elements from design and functionality to images and text and finally you need to think about how people are going to find it.
With all the "website pieces" together in one pile you can start to fit them together until your website cluster is complete and you have something recognisable.
But BEWARE! Sometimes when making a jigsaw you might come across a piece that is not part of the cluster that you are working on but you can see where it's supposed to go in a different cluster. OK, so go put it in, but don't get distracted on that other cluster of pieces or you'll end up with a lot of unfinished and unrecognisable clusters.
This is what happens to many business owners. They begin working on one element of their marketing plan, but get distracted and end up with lots of half-finished, semi-working marketing elements that end up wasting more money than they generate.
The scary part is that marketing in the 21st Century is actually like an endless jigsaw where more pieces are added every day. The need to focus is therefore more important than ever. Good Luck!
|Franco De Bonis has worked in the field of sales and marketing promotion since 1990 and was most recently the global marketing manager for a major international technology company before setting up The DG Group in January 2007.
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Franco De Bonis is a marketing professional with a unique view on the world of marketing and co-owner of The DG Group. Franco has worked in the field of sales and marketing promotion for over 20 years and was most recently the global marketing manager for Creative Labs before setting up The DG Group in January 2007.