I used to go to summer camp and the highlight was always the three-day canoeing/camping trip down the northern part of the Delaware River. During a slow stretch between sections of whitewater, one camper, Kevin, took a break from paddling and let his oar dangle in the water. Our counselor, Irving, paddling in the bow, was none too thrilled and explained to him that he was creating drag, slowing down the canoe and thwarting the effort to move the canoe forward. Kevin took his oar out of the water and laid it across his lap. That’s when Irving explained that even though he was no longer actively working against forward movement of the canoe, he was not exactly helping the effort either. “If you’re not helping, you’re hindering,” he said…among other things.
Although this happened some 25 years ago, I’ve never forgotten the axiom. It occurred to me today that a company running poor ads that push an uninspiring or off-target message in an amateurish or clichéd design style is actively hindering its own marketing efforts. In effect, the company is paying money to tarnish its own brand and discourage its own sales team from working as hard it could work. It certainly isn’t making the most of the investment in ad space.
When a marketing program coordinates advertising, publicity, email marketing and other methods to bring qualified prospects to the Web site, it’s critical that the Web site effectively advances these leads to a phone call or email inquiry. Lead response materials must be equally effective. If not, then neither is helping to close the sale and they are therefore, hindering. No matter how hard two people paddle, they will only go so far if there’s a leak in the canoe. Similarly, if the literature, Web site or other materials fail to effectively address the needs of the customer or prospect then only so many leads will be converted to sales, no matter how many leads are continually generated. Improving the conversion ratio with strong marketing materials by even a small percentage can yield dramatically large results.
From lead generation and building name brand awareness to instilling confidence and helping to close sales, if any one element in the marketing program is lacking or is not as effective as it could be then sales will be affected. Every element in the overall marketing program needs to deliver. Everyone who can paddle needs to paddle. Otherwise, you’re hindering. Don’t be a hinderance – call epr.