BLOG: Brexit – a marketing lesson in what NOT to do
As Britain prepares to leave the EU – and the fraught negotiations and in-fighting continue – we can’t help but think there has to be something we can learn from the mess that is Brexit.
You can’t switch on the TV, open a newspaper, or even turn the corner at the moment without hearing about the latest Brexit furore. The country voted in June last year to leave the European Union, but it is becoming more apparent by the day that it is a task that has been grossly underestimated, for which ‘they’ were seriously under-prepared.
Appco UK has no interest in weighing into the politics of Brexit, but we do think there are lessons that should be learned and applied outside the halls of government, including in businesses and, more specifically, when planning your marketing strategy.
Poor Brexit planning and the resulting chaos provides important lessons when preparing your marketing strategy.
Plan for the outcome you seek
Perhaps the most obvious Brexit lesson is to look before you leap. We suspect this is true of both camps, but given the “leave” vote won, we’ll focus on that when we say that, incredibly, the reality of exiting the EU doesn’t seem to have been thoroughly understood, considered or planned for before we all headed to the ballot box. Don’t fall into the same poor-planning trap with your 2018 marketing strategy!
When planning your marketing and brand awareness strategies, it pays to be creative and flexible so you can adapt to customer feedback and changing trends. But it’s also absolutely crucial to keep your end-goal firmly in mind and ensure that, at its heart, your plan is focused on how to achieve it and what’s needed when you do.
Forgive us for stating the obvious but, quite clearly, this is something our Brexiteers have failed to do. Their resulting, shall we say, “challenges” are fair warning to us all of the perils of failing/forgetting to fix our 2018 objectives and agree a clear plan, well in advance, for achieving them.
Bring in experts who believe in what you do
Another thing that’s patently clear to even the most casual Brexit observer is that no one seems to have a clue what they’re doing, or even whose “side” they’re on, from one day – or minute – to the next. From changing allegiances to plans, processes and agreements in constant flux, one thing Brexit will never be is an example of a united front.
It goes without saying that transitioning the UK out of the EU is a mammoth task that will naturally require adjustments and negotiations throughout the process. But, from the outset, it really doesn’t seem like anyone was clear on the vision, who was responsible for what, who was on the team, or what the whole thing would mean for their customers – in other words, the rest of us.
As far as we’re concerned, those elements are marketing 101. We’ve been setting up and running direct marketing campaigns for our clients for almost 30 years, and the foundation stones of every one of those campaigns are knowledge and teamwork. We couldn’t deliver an effective marketing campaign without knowing our clients and their businesses, clearly understanding what they ultimately want to achieve, and making sure the brand ambassadors representing them know their products inside-out.
Each of the campaigns we run involves Appco UK experts in account management, operations, compliance, analysis, product training and customer service. We then outsource the field marketing activity to business partners who are experts in that area. Each of us knows what we’re doing and what we’re all working towards achieving for each client.
We’ve had 30 years of practice to get this right, while Brexit has “only” had 17 months – to the day, in fact. And yet, putting in place a strong team to deliver your objective is something we believe you can and should plan for well before you throw your hat in the ring, so to speak.
Here at Appco UK, we will continue to watch the Brexit drama with interest, mild bemusement and the hope that those involved can start working together behind a cohesive plan. In the meantime, we will be heeding the lessons the current situation provides: believe in what you’re doing, ensure you have a great team to do it, and never forget the people for whom you are delivering your services.