“Looks great!” feels good to say, and even better to hear—but this should never be the leading factor for signing off on a marketing campaign (that the marketing team worked so tirelessly to produce) for the executive who sits at the end of the food chain … er, I mean approval process.
Mea culpa here: No one is more guilty of becoming enamored with how their campaign looks than marketers themselves. We’ve been warned over the ages: Looks are deceiving. This applies to Tinder prospects, sure, but it’s worth keeping in mind before swiping right on your marketing assets too. So, let’s play pretend for a bit. Let’s pretend we live in a world where marketers no longer feel at war with the executives about whom they may exclaim with regularity “they know nothing!” in Jim Cramer epic rant style in response to feedback. Instead, this is an alternative world where marketers implicitly trust the judgment of their eminent superior who, in a lot of cases, is not a marketer themselves but an omnipresent figurehead who is entrusted to fulfill the interests of the entire company and not just one team within it.
What questions should an executive in this position ask themselves before giving final approval on a marketing campaign?
Humbly, I offer the following suggestions. Ask:
1. Does this move our story forward?
Marketing, at its best, is another form of storytelling: except the story comes in separate pieces and there is often no continuous narrative. View each campaign as a string in that narrative, and your chances for a successful campaign each time grow.
2. Will this be something our target audience can relate to on social media?
Amplify, amplify and amplify your message—that’s the modus operandi of modern digital marketing, and your journey inevitably leads to your largest, loudest available megaphone: your social media channels. You should no longer view content as static but always in the context of social engagement. Is this something people will hit the play button for or like, comment on or share?
3. Is there something aspirational that’s captured in the content and design I’m looking at?
Great marketing presents an ideal—whether that best thing has something to do with your identity and persona as a brand or if it’s the intentionality behind your product. Ultimately, find a way to not make it about yourselves, but rather, about serving an ideal that’s more important than you.
4. Have we made sure the message is universal?
No one likes to feel excluded or, at worst, alienated by your message. Step outside of who you are, and the circle of people you associate with, and step inside the shoes of people you perhaps don’t know so well … and just live in their shoes for a moment as you review the marketing materials. Are you speaking to everyone? Think of it not as an exercise of caution but an act of grace.
5. Are we just doing things the same way over and over again?
People will likely respect, and maybe even admire and love you, for pushing the envelope even just the tiniest bit instead of staying in your safety zone. As an executive, you know the limits of how far you should push that envelope best. So push, and be rewarded for taking some risks every now and then.
If you’re able to feel good about the responses to these five questions and then say “looks great!” then chances are good that, whether you’re signing off on a video, ad, social post, collateral or email marketing piece, you’ve got yourself a winner.
Written By: Johannes Marlena