Being smart and being creative with insight from the past is the best policy.
Oddly enough, marketing can be like farming.
Just like farmers must grow and adapt to the conditions a season doles out to them, so must the people who market to them. And like the weather, it’s not always easy to predict where we’ll be as an industry a year or so after a campaign makes its initial launch. That’s why it’s critically important to take cues from the shifts it’s made in seasons past.
What is the best way to move forward?
Strategy must seem daunting when there are so many variables in the mix. But it really can be as simple as diving into the archives of work to find your next steps. We need to be looking ahead with the knowledge learned today to make informed, successful decisions. We need to be thinking about what worked last time and if it will work moving forward. That’s not to say we should repeat campaigns, but we should absolutely avoid ideas that didn’t work and analyze and grow from what did. And if a campaign was successful, maybe repeating it isn’t too bad of an idea after all.
What if I don’t want to change?
Change can be scary, there’s no doubt about it. But it can also be necessary as long as it’s well thought out and informed. It’s similar to when a beef producer has achieved high rates-of-gain and feed efficiency using a particular ration. She may, however, find the current mineral mix has become cost-prohibitive and consider alternative sources in order to achieve her target return on investment. And for that reason, change is worth it. In that same vein, if history shows direct mailers always deliver, why change it up? The past should be a source of confidence for your decision making and should mitigate any fears you have about moving forward. Instead of tossing out a valid idea, you can try evolving the concept, making it even better.
It sounds nice, but does it really work?
As the old adage goes, history tends to repeat itself. So, it only makes sense to know how to react when it inevitably does. Your instinct might say “there’s no way this YouTube pre-roll will work for another year,” but if history says that views increase by 10% every time a similar video is rolled out, that might be your sign to keep the videos coming. Sure, it may feel tired and uninspiring… and perhaps too subtle in a very cluttered marketing environment. Let’s not forget, our job as marketers is to engage customers where, when and how they want to be engaged.
So in the end, looking to the past is not playing it safe, it’s playing it smart.