Marketing Lever or Marketing Crutch?

by Josef Katz on March 10, 2015

in Digital Marketing,Marketing,Marketing Strategy

How to create marketing levers that produce business results - ask Josef KatzBuilding a Marketing Lever

People often ask me about marketing levers and how to create them.   A marketing lever is basically a marketing program that works so well that you can keep funding the effort and it will continue to help your business grow.  Do you want more leads? Feed the machine. Want to increase sales? Feed the machine.

However, all too often I will hear someone at a company ask, “If we need to drive sales, what levers can we pull?”  Next thing you know, there are 30 email responses to a group email list with a common theme, all along the lines of one of these:

  • “Let’s run a flash promotion”
  • “Let’s offer a one-day discount”
  • “Let’s put a coupon on our social media accounts”

The list goes on.

Relying on Marketing Crutches

Hopefully you get the point that a sale or promotion is not a lever to grow a business long term.  Sure it will drive a short-term bump in sales, but is it sustainable?  Is it good for your brand?  Are you training your customers to wait for the deal?  I refer to deals and promotions as marketing crutches since as long as you depend on sales and promos to grow your business, you will need them to hold up your marketing programs.

While there definitely is a place for discounts and promotions in marketing programs, discounts should not be your “go-to marketing activity” anytime you are looking to drive sales.  (Of course if your business model is built on discounting, none of this applies.)  We have all fallen prey to the “let’s run a promo” response, but we can all learn from our mistakes.  As marketers we are more creative, more strategic and more innovative than that. So let’s put those skills to the test and find strategic ways to grow our businesses.

The best strategy is to develop some marketing cranks or levers that you can continue to fund and work into the future.  Cranks can be found in media channels, messaging, offers (they don’t have to be financial), free trials, awesome customer service, new brand positioning, etc. Marketing levers are not always at the top of the funnel.  Can you add a lever in your conversion stream to help improve your sales process?

Unfortunately there is no silver bullet and no one can tell you exactly what is going to work for every business.  You will just have to rely on good ole fashioned marketing tests to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Some things will fail.  That is ok!  As long as you learn what didn’t work, you can find other ways to try building your marketing levers.  I’ll spare you the Edison quotes about his failures in creating the light bulb, but if you want to read them feel free:

BTW- Not all levers will last the test of time.  Remember that times change, so make sure to reevaluate all your marketing efforts regularly.

Now what can we do today to help drive your business?

Let me know the best crank or lever you have created and how it helped your business grow.  I would love to share your story on the blog and help spread the news of your marketing success.


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There Are No Silver Bullets in Marketing | Marketing Maestro
April 20, 2015 at 8:44 am

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