Marketing professionals must take into consideration a myriad of positive and negative responses when crafting a campaign. Many times, the same message produces both kinds of responses. Marketing techniques inherently carry both positive and negative characteristics that must be weighed when kicking off campaigns because consumer attitudes are comprised of multiple facets.
It Has Built-In Longevity
One of the most effective characteristics of marketing comes not when the ad or promotion is launched but when people talk about it afterwards. According to McKinsey & Co., word-of-mouth marketing plays a significant role in 20 to 50 percent of all buying decisions made by consumers. As consumers are bombarded with marketing messages from every medium, they turn to the opinions of trusted advisers, friends and family members, thus enhancing and increasing the return-on-investment made in the original marketing campaign.
It Can Be Socially Responsive and Helpful
Marketing has within its core essence the ability to affect social change and to inform consumers about their choices and what those decisions entail. Instead of buying just any cereal, for example, consumers can look to marketing and advertising for explanations of what ingredients certain brands contain. The packaging can tout the vitamin content, the amount of fat and sugar and how many calories are in each serving. Further marketing on a company’s website, in printed materials and through spoken advertising and sponsorship can be used to explain why those health components are important to consumers.
It Cannot Overcome Most Motivations
Marketing efforts inherently cannot accurately tap into the correct motivation of consumers when they make buying decisions because so many unknown factors play roles in those decisions. Consumers have childhood memories, for example, that influence the way they think about a brand or product, and no amount of positive reinforcement can overcome them. Consumers are highly influenced by the choices made by their peers, which marketing often can do little to change. Additionally, it’s difficult to change commonly held beliefs, which motivate consumers to make purchases.
Once a marketing plan is launched and implemented, there is little that marketers can do to control the response it receives. One of the more common marketing strategies, for example, is building a digital presence through reviews, social media and blogging. A marketing blog that receives a negative response from an influential blogger is difficult to stop when the pass-around effect takes place, and it ends up causing a viral stew the marketer can’t eliminate. Information spreads so fast online that it is nearly impossible to stop a negative response once it starts. A poor review can disarm any active marketing campaign. Negative press following a blunder by a company can derail the marketing campaign that caused the attention in the first place. Marketers have little control over negative responses and take risks with any new campaign approach.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."