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  • What Marketers Need to Think About Before They Make Their Hail Mary Play

    The modern economy thrives on risk. Without it, there would be no innovation, the stock market would be flat and entrepreneurs would be far less common. Risk is also a crucial consideration for marketers. Every day, marketing professionals need to factor in reputational and brand risks, as well as financial risks from failing strategies. But how can marketers approach risk in a way that allows them to be creative and seize opportunities without betting the farm and losing it all? Here are some ways to strike a balance between risk and reward.  Are You In Control of Your Risks? Before......

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What Marketers Need to Think About Before They Make Their Hail Mary Play

The modern economy thrives on risk. Without it, there would be no innovation, the stock market would be flat and entrepreneurs would be far less common.

Risk is also a crucial consideration for marketers. Every day, marketing professionals need to factor in reputational and brand risks, as well as financial risks from failing strategies.

But how can marketers approach risk in a way that allows them to be creative and seize opportunities without betting the farm and losing it all? Here are some ways to strike a balance between risk and reward.

 Are You In Control of Your Risks?

Before making a risky play, you need to assess the balance of probabilities. Are you in a strong position to make this assessment, or do you need additional data? Don’t rush into a decision or make a knee-jerk reaction in an attempt to turn around your fortunes. Always remember that desperation breeds poor decisions, so step back and make a rational assessment that can inform your actions. Raw emotion is not sufficient justification.

 What are the Implications of Your Actions?

Any risk assessment needs to consider what the potential fallout from your marketing decisions could be. Model a set of ROI scenarios for the options available to you, using at least three tiers of success. For each strategy, be honest about the worst possible outcome and don’t be over-optimistic. If you can’t survive the worst case scenario, pick a different option.

Never Fly Blind into a Marketing Storm

If a risky marketing play is needed, collect as much information as possible before you make the call. The chances are that other companies will have chosen similar options in the past. Find out how their campaigns panned out and try to learn lessons that will apply to your own efforts. You could even try making contact with companies you aren’t in direct competition with. Their insights could be invaluable.

Check out relevant data sources as well. This is an age of Big Data and there are masses of statistics available to marketers. Reach out to marketing analytics specialists to mine that data for useful background information.

Testing is Crucial

When you’ve settled upon a range of different options, test them until you are confident they will work (or at least won’t cause a business disaster). Carry out A/B testing of your ads and landing pages. Contact customers to try out new pitches and taglines. Get feedback on new visual materials if you are redesigning your brand. It all contributes to higher quality decisions.

Is Your Timing Right?

Marketers often have brilliant ideas about advertising strategies or new ways to engage customers that work in the short-term, but cause problems further down the line. A great (and all-too-common) example of this is the mania for clickbait-style content. Companies that use clickbait know they will be penalized by search engines and customers over the long haul, but the short-term gains are hard to resist.

You need to think over the long-term as well as the next couple of months. Find ways to exploit short-term opportunities that don’t compromise your brand or long-term strategy. Sure, you can offer attractive, humorous, wacky content that verges on clickbait, but balance this with high-quality material that will stand the test of time.

Embrace Risk When the Conditions are Right

If you have been diligent about your capabilities and the implications of your marketing strategy you are ready to take the plunge. Embracing risk is a central part of business success, so don’t be half-hearted. Once you’ve tested your strategy, commit yourself to it totally. Write bold content, focus on your strengths, make contact with key influencers.

Generate controversy with your ideas. Without that kind of boldness, you will never make the next step to stratospheric revenues. But balance this boldness with reason.Have procedures in place to turn risky marketing plays into well-thought-out, defensible plans. That way, you can harness the raw instincts of your gut and the cool rationality of your mind.

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