Deliver Value

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What may seem like value to you may well be spam to the person you’re sending it to. This is the curse of traditional companies fumbling their way through the social channels.

Marketing and Communications professionals have been trained to listen to what a client wants, figure out a smart, clever and/or impacting way to deliver that message and then go forward, create the campaign and do everything within their power to get that message out there. When you apply this as the overarching strategic imperative, we are all missing one core point: no matter how targeted that messaging is, it’s still going to hit a bunch of people who really don’t care all that much about it.

Even the best of the best in advertising and communications don’t get 50% success rates on any of their campaigns (targeted or mass). This means that the majority of the people you are targeting are simply not all that interested in what you have to say. 

The problem with that is Marketers don’t think they may need to do less, they think the opposite. They will look at failed campaigns and think they need to target more people the next time to get a better result. Just today I got a press release from a company that should definitely know better. The message was not targeted, in fact if they even took a quick glance at this Blog they would know that it doesn’t cover the industry of their client, and I will not be at their upcoming conference.

There’s no value to me, there’s no value to the agency and there’s no value to the client.

It’s a big waste of time and money all the way around. How many years have we been having long online discussions about the difference between Media Relations and Blogger outreach? What has changed? If anything, even the mass media want to be handled more like Bloggers. They don’t want to be pitched and they don’t want standard press releases (yes, I’m generalizing). They do want to know what you think the ideal story for their readers might be.

That’s the shift towards delivering value. 

Value is all about focusing on the small few who can really help your message spread. It’s definitely not as fun or as sexy as a billboard in Times Square or a 30-second spot on the Super Bowl, but that stuff does click and groove when you have laid a strong foundation of building, providing and communicating value.

It may sound pedestrian, but seriously think about the last time you really focused on delivering value first and then spreading the message far and wide.


  1. Great points, Mitch. Regarding your 3rd point, that’s truer now more than ever. Talking to editors and media who are inundated with pitch letters, pitch e-mails, mailers, and gift bags, they are sick of off-topic pitches.
    If companies, marketers, and PR agencies would take 30 minutes to research the editor, they would know what they want and what they want to be pitched.

  2. For example, in the travel space, the consumer purchase decision is extremely complex – traditional messages broadcast to a mass audience are becoming increasingly irrelevant.
    The value equation is not simply a price point weighed against a particular product. Individuals may choose to book across a wide spectrum of air, hotel, car and activity options based on the specific trip purpose.
    The value is weighed against a customized set of criteria based on the various travel personas we each possess – one size obviously does not fit all when it comes to business trips, family vacations, romantic retreats or a weekend away with college buddies.
    Unfortunately, the vast majority of the travel industry is still spraying the masses with generic price / destination offers that have noting to do with the immediate needs or interests of its potential consumer base.
    Understanding the personas will help clarify the appropriate channels, messaging and creative execution, but the key will be delivering relevant communication at an appropriate time through the appropriate media.
    The only realistic solution is to render more control to the customer and engage in a truly interactive conversation – and, most importantly, respond appropriately based on what you hear in real time.

  3. i’m “surprised” (well not at all actually) at the number of book publishers who are on twitter, and their entire stream is: “so and so has a new book out!” etc, basically a twitter version of their catalog. aka zero value to anyone except themselves.

  4. That’s the beauty of today’s digital marketing. When you invite someone to your Facebook group, or someone follows you on Twitter, or someone subscribes to your RSS feed, they are invariably the most captive audience you’re gonna get. They are tuned into whatever you’re going to say, present, or peddle.

  5. Mitch, that irrelevant press release you received the other day is an example of the pray-and-approach that’s still happening far too often.
    Know what I was told when I shot back a reply to a PR person who sent me a release that had nothing whatsoever to do with my blog? “If we personalize the message, isn’t that like brown-nosing?” Huh? Seriously?
    I’m not asking for a message from someone who is trying to be my best friend, but a targeted approach and a genuine attempt to match information to a blogger/media person’s audience/community will certainly land a higher “hit” rate than the go-for-the-masses style.
    This approach doesn’t necessarily mean doing *less*, Mitch, but it does mean sending your marketing message to a smaller, but more relevant group (the time it takes to do diligent research translates to plenty of work along the way).
    Bryan | @BryanPerson

  6. I’m re-reading Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, should be mandatory for anyone in marketing to read every 5 years.
    What so many forget is that basic tenet, you can only get someone to do something you want by giving them something they want.
    This is true regardless of the platform. Be it Twitter, a blog, or a marketing campaign. Approach it from the standpoint of what you want to get from it and it’s doomed to fail. Instead, approach from what your consumers want, aligning your goals with their desires.
    Yes, it takes more thought and more work. Which is exactly why most don’t bother, and why those that do will succeed.
    I always tell people ‘if was easy everyone would do it, and I would need to find something else that is hard’.
    Great post, btw. Thanks.

  7. I think perhaps the value of the search tools will be of more help to this group then the size or scope of the pitch. If I never mention a giveaway, a contest or the like, I’m probably not interested. I’m not. Yet it is quite easy to see on Twitter and in my corner of the blogosphere who *is* interested. Search. The tools are there.

  8. Mitch, for once I disagree with some of the comments in this blog, I know you have mentioned that it is a generalization but I think you have generalized a little too much. I would class my self as a Marketing and Communications professional, and do agree with your job descriptor. However over the years I have had several campaigns with over 50% success rates. You can read a case study of a recent pro-bono campaign for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Okanagan on our website (was going to add a link here as shameless PR). Our company has even done Governmental work for developing increase in telephone response surveys with over 70% success rate.
    Another generalization of “the problem with that is Marketers don’t think they may need to do less, they think the opposite. They will look at failed campaigns and think they need to target more people the next time to get a better result.” Failed campaigns I find are flawed with poor preliminary execution, lack of research, lack of planning. Target or mass campaigns can still be successful if you understand market trends and demographics.
    And if you don’t think that those 30-sec spot’s on the Super Bowl did not provide value to some of those clients I think we are kidding ourselves, check out Youtube and look up the subject with some having over 700,000 views.
    The Sony Wii has become an mega success story using mass traditional marketing campaigns appealing to a non gaming demographic. No kids playing games on their commercials, they actually went for the non interested person the person that does not fit the mold and now we see Seniors playing Wii bowling in Nursing homes.
    As I read more “guru and expert blogs” I can’t help but think a few companies are waging their bets in this area as poorly as the were planning their marketing campaigns. The imperative word with in this blog is Value. I know i have lost business because of not providing appropriate value to my client, and it is something I strive towards, and will be key to the current economy.
    Mitch, all said I read few blogs religiously, this being one of them. Must be because it provides me with narrow targeted value ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Great conversation.
    Scott, I think we would both agree that industry standards are nowhere near 50%. Of course, there are some that buck this trend and do amazing – you listed only a few. We’ve had many similar successes as well at Twist Image.
    This Blog post was more about overall laziness than one or another. If you have been following this Blog, you know full well how much I believe in both traditional and new media, and the value they can all deliver together – when done well. The challenge is that “done well” is hard work.
    This Blog is a ton of hard work. Don’t you think it would be much easier for me to just run some advertising to get the word out? I am trying to deliver value and, in turn, build my business by focusing on the right people versus trying to get the message to everyone.

  10. Mitch,
    Don’t get me wrong either; I value the hard work and dedication it takes to run such a resourceful blog, and admire the following and comments that you are receiving, kudos to Twistimage and yourself.

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