The 180 Pivot — The thoughts and interest of a marketing professional.

The 180 Pivot — The thoughts and interest of a marketing professional..

By Landon Armstrong, EVP of Marketing – fused180

The 180 Pivot – What do objections really mean?

Sometimes the most insightful learning’s come from the objections made during pitch meetings.  The following comments were made during meetings where I was providing thought leadership, proposing a strategy and/or making tactical recommendations to meet a predetermined business objective or goal.

1)      Digital is just a bubble –  (Says a frustrated executive.)

2)      It’s all about the Facebook likes – (When asked why, this person had no answer.)

3)      Brand awareness is not important –  (Sales dropped a month later when a competitor moved across the street.)

4)      Advertising is too expensive – (Until a Wal-Mart moves down the street.)

5)      I love the overall strategy, but can we just do a piece of it – (Expecting the same outcomes.)

There are many more, but as with every meeting I take a step back and think about where and why my message was lost.  I also try to understand what is really being said when these comments are made.

Here are my thoughts on each of these comments.

Digital is just a bubble –

The speed of user adoption to new and emerging technologies can be frustrating to marketers, specifically when they have made large investments into a technology only to see that the platform can no longer provide the efficiency or flexibility needed to keep up with their consumer or target audience.

Today’s multi-screen environment requires flexibility, giving marketers the ability to change a tactic quickly without having to change a strategy.  Technology has developed in such a way that a large investment into platforms is no longer needed.  Companies can accomplish the same tasks and reach their goals by simply insuring that they are focusing on where their consumers are and tailoring a message and environment to that consumer.  This can all be done with existing technology, as long as your strategy takes into account all the potential tactical pivots that may need to be made along the way.  This sounds more complicated than it is.  In a nutshell, if your vision is linear, you are bound to run into barriers that you can’t overcome. By taking a “round” approach to a strategy, you can easily move between tactics to make the adjustments needed to remain effective.

It’s all about Facebook likes – 

It still amazes me that marketers latch onto a statement without fully understanding the why or the weight that a statement carries in an overarching digital strategy.  This lack of understanding holds true when it comes to the view of most companies and marketing on a vehicle such as Facebook.

Yes, likes are important but this is only a small part of the story.  There are many sites that show you how to get more likes and even some that offer ways to pay for likes.  The “carrot” being that if you have 1000 likes and each of those people have 100 followers, you will reach an audience of 100,000 people.  Well, there may be some validity to that, but if you’re marketing plan is purely focused on eyeballs, then you are missing out on the real opportunity with social marketing.

First, let’s look at the changes that have been happening over the last couple of years with brands.  It used to be that the relationship with a brand was developed and controlled by the brand itself.  In the age of social and the ease of access to technologies, it is now the consumer who drives the relationship with brands. The consumer experience can be posted immediately to a social feed, thus making it very important for a brand to respond quickly to dissatisfaction or to satisfaction with a product or service.  This interaction personalizes the relationship with the consumer, fostering loyalty and giving those consumers who are performing research confidence knowing that a company they choose to do business with is accessible and really cares about the consumer they have worked with.  The best form of advertising is from that of a consumer who has recently done business and regardless of the experience they have, can point to the fact that if there was a problem, it was solved immediately.

Brand awareness is not important – 

A statement most common with small to medium size businesses who rely on referral and repeat business.  Creating buzz in the marketplace around a company’s brand is thought of as being reserved for big brand companies, the thought being that a smaller brand is not as important for smaller ticket items.

This is not true and brand awareness is twofold in the opportunity it provides businesses of all sizes.  A brand should create an emotional attachment with the consumer or audience they are working with.  A brand should stand for quality, integrity, and most importantly instill confidence in the buyer that they are buying from a company that is reputable and cares about how their brand is conveyed in the marketplace.  The expected results for an effective brand awareness campaign is to create a loyalty with a consumer who is not afraid to spend a few dollars more for a product, because they trust the brand that they are buying the product from.

Advertising is too expensive – 

Translation; I have paid thousands of dollars in advertising in the past and did not see the results I was promised or expected.

Over promised and under delivered.  Common in advertising, it’s the few success stories that marketers latch on to that create expectations that far exceed the norm.  The answer here is simple, don’t oversell and be realistic about what a single tactic may or may not produce.  A solid advertising plan is something that is developed and tuned over time.  The fact is all campaigns are successful at producing one thing, results.  Whether these results are bad or good, the information captured can be used to improve the next campaign.  An approach that I take with my clients is simple.  Be transparent with the tactics you are using, nimble in being able to change tactics depending on the results and most importantly, realistic in the time frame for which you can expect to start moving the needle forward in achieving the campaign objectives.

Bottom line, advertising is a cost of doing business.  If done correctly it shouldn’t be an expense and instead be a profit maker.

 I love the overall strategy, but can we just do a piece of it – 

The short answer is yes, as long as you realize you will need to realign your goals and objectives to an expected result of a single component or tactic.  The fact is that a strategy takes into account a number of approaches and tailoring messages to the audience that engages most with a specific vehicle. (I.e. Facebook and Pinterest for woman, Twitter for men and Instagram for teens.)

A full strategy takes into account the entire sales funnel.  How do we create awareness?  How do we tailor our message to the audience we are in front of? And finally how do we get the sale closed?  Choosing a piece of the overall strategy will impact not only impact the expected results negatively, but long term could prove to be more expensive.

It is better to lower the bar of expectations and create a strategy around that, than to choose a single tactic of an overall strategy.  This speaks to how a linear view of marketing does not work well in the multi-screen marketplace of today.  Whether you’re using traditional or digital means of getting your message out into the marketplace, the overarching strategy should be consistent across all tactics.  This takes into the account the assumption that people will actually do some research before purchasing a product or service.  How in-depth that research will be may vary, but a cohesive campaign will insure whatever research is done, the message and call to action remain consistent.


Marketers are trying to be cost effective with their strategy and tactical choices, utilizing pieces of knowledge they have garnered from many different sources.  It is important as marketing professionals to communicate both the positive and negatives to this way of thinking, offer multiple options and most importantly set realistic expectations to benchmark progress against.

Whether you agree or disagree with my opinions and assumptions made in this post, I would love to hear from you.  Send me an email at or follow me on Twitter @180landon.

Landon Armstrong

EVP of Marketing – fused180

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