07/01/2014 05:35 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2014

Desperation Marketing - Time To Change

Do you sometimes feel as if your brand is desperate in their attempt to generate qualified leads? I have seen this periodically in my career, especially in the marketing agency world where clients are not exactly sure what to do or how to execute. As I spend time researching marketing techniques and best practices, I see that some brands appear to be desperate in trying to find customers. It is relatively easy to spot desperation marketing because the advertisements I see that should be targeting someone like me as a customer are not. Hmm. Additionally, when I see brands on all sorts of media channels with no sense of cohesiveness, consistency or even clarity, this makes me feel they are desperate to reach all audiences regardless of who they are.

Let's Ask A Few Questions:

1. What Makes A Brand Appear Desperate?

I believe the internal sense of desperation can possibly stem from a few things that may not be fully understood by the marketing department or even the company itself. Here are a few business-marketing basics that can create problems, especially if the marketing staff does not understand and embrace them.

• Company positioning: This starts with a statement that clearly explains how a brand, product or service fills a need in the market. If the brand position is not understood, marketing will not be as effective.

• Value Proposition: If the value proposition is unclear, this can also create confusion when customers see the brand's marketing campaigns. As a marketer, if I do not know what the value proposition is, it's time for me to be re-educated on what benefits the customer is getting when they purchase the product or service. Of course, not knowing the value proposition means, the content I create, as a marketer is not doing its job.

• Personas: As a marketer, writing full descriptions of the target personas is a critical exercise that helps the marketing department understand how to create content with a targeted message, for a targeted customer who is located in a specific part of the sales funnel. If marketers don't know their brand personas, the marketing content will most likely be a brand sell for awareness purposes, and not a targeted strategy.

If as a marketer you don't know these and adopt them completely, your advertising and marketing content will most likely be off the mark and not effectively reach the targeted audience you want.

2. What Media Channels Are Best?

When a brand is desperate, it is possible that the paid media purchased may not be the best media channels that are targeting the audience best for the brand? Once you define your personas, do your research and review the media kits of digital publishers. These kits will give you a clearer picture of who the people are that frequent that publisher's website. Keep in mind, just because you advertise doesn't mean leads will start knocking on your company's door immediately. Those leads may not be the people you really want. Desperation marketing can drum up what I like to call bad leads. A bad lead is someone that is remotely interested enough to potentially inquire, but that bad lead is not one of the defined personas that are most important to your company. These individuals (bad leads) take up valuable salesperson time and they don't end up buying. Thus, finding the right media channels that have the highest percentage of qualified leads is very important. A shotgun approach, which exposes your advertising to a lot of people, may end up costing you a lot more money in your ad budget as well as more salesperson time and resources.

3. If You're Desperate - How Can You Change?

There are a few things you can do to change the feeling of desperation and actually change the action too. Be as planned as possible before you invest money and resources in paid media. As we talked about earlier, know your value proposition, positioning and personas, and understand the media channels. Then determine concrete goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for each paid media channel. Ask yourself, what benchmarks can I put in place for the media advertising? For instance, how many inquiries per month do you want to receive? How many calls? How many eBook downloads? All of these can potentially lead to increased sales. Answering these questions will help determine if your plan is working or not.
Desperation marketing may sound like I am picking on brands. To be clear, that's not the point. It's easy to fall into this category and it's also relatively easy to get out. Hopefully you will be able to take advantage of a few tips that can direct your team's approach so that it may not seem so frantic. The goal is to turn from desperation marketing to planned and purposeful marketing.