Everything I Know about Marketing I Learned from Childhood Games (Not Really But it Sounds Super Interesting and Dramatic.) 2 of 3

13 Jul Everything I Know about Marketing I Learned from Childhood Games (Not Really But it Sounds Super Interesting and Dramatic.) 2 of 3

The Last Straw– A Board Game of Strategy

Players take turns loading the camel with straws (actually wooden sticks) and try not to be the one to add the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The camel is in two pieces, on wheels, and held together with a rubber band. He will eventually collapse under the weight of the wooden sticks and the player’s straw that causes the collapse loses.

When I was a growing up, The Last Straw was a staple in my home. The play is pretty straight forward, at least you would think. Except the red, yellow and blue straws are different weights and oddly there is no scoring done based on the color/ weight of the straws, which frees players to pick whichever straw they want.
I had a particular cousin who shall remain nameless (Martin) that insisted on using ALL the thickest sticks. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Why would he consistently go for the big sticks, especially since there was absolutely no reward in taking the gamble? All I can surmise all these years later is that he had no compunction about aggressively pushing the envelope for no tangible gain.

Here comes the marketing metaphor. Every business needs a marketing plan in order to be successful. A series of well-placed tactics (sticks) to build their brand. But sometimes businesses get greedy, and while rushing to acquire customers, get overly aggressive with their marketing and advertising breaking the proverbial camel’s back.

Here are a Few Ways Marketers Get Greedy and Overly Aggressive…

  • Repeat the same message over and over again.
  • Repetitive messaging is good to a point, but creative executions and channels must vary in order to get the consumer’s attention, and make active ENGAGEMENT with the consumer continuous, and ongoing.
  • Being Data Obsessed – Acquiring lots, but having no idea how to use it.
  • The practice of acquiring prospects, lists, emails, birthdays, addresses, followers… and not really doing anything with it is surprisingly common, and a huge waste of time. You must make your data work for you.
  • Clicks- You’re getting clicks, now what?
  • Clicks are like one good date as opposed to a relationship. You feel good afterwards but there’s nothing really meaningful or substantive happening. However, for those who like numbers and counting conversions, clicks rock. Questions invariably arise that clicks alone cannot answer. What motivated that click? What user experience did they have that persuaded them to click?
  • Site Traffic

Again, super easy to track but what is it really saying? The numbers can’t speak to you about the whys, or how to make fixes. Nice to have, but don’t overly focus on something that you can’t glean insight from.

As in the case of The Last Straw, too many straws—emails, Facebook posts, tweets and messages are not necessarily better. In fact, they can hurt you. You can over spend time, and money on observations that don’t really mean much on their own. Strategically placed, tactful, and properly timed messages through a variety of channels are the real way to win the game, and keep your “camel” out of traction.

We would love to help you develop a strategic, efficient and effective marketing plan in place. Let’s get started.

Leisa Odom-Kurtz