Random acts of marketing. We call them RAMs or RAMMIES. What are they? They are acts of marketing that are not integrated, funded or properly planned. Yes, when looked at individually they may have a great plan, cool graphics, awesome web page. However, it's like putting lipstick on a pig. A RAMMIE is like a pig with bright red lipstick. It may even make you feel good, feel like you are doing real marketing and real business.
Random acts of marketing can come in the form of a stand alone campaign, email blast, newspaper advertisement, or a day spent tweeting.
Social media and online marketing drive many people to RAMMIES. A beautiful Twitter background may give you the false perception that your brand is rockin'! You may have a beautiful Facebook Fan Page. However, is it driving action?
What is causing so many social media newbies to take on RAMMIE behavior? Is it because they really don't understand business and marketing to begin with? Is it because they haven't taken the time to learn what social media really is and how it can benefit their business? Is it the fud telling people to “watch this video and you'll be a millionaire?” My opinion is it's a combination of all of these plus more.
RAMMIES are simply what is done when you don't have a real plan. A real business.
How can you have a real business without a business plan, marketing plan and understanding of the mediums you are using to reach your markets.
I have attended several networking meetings lately and I am always amazed how many people are selling RAMMIES. “Buy my logo, buy my website, my Twitter background” and the list goes on. The issue is many people at these events don't know any better. They trust the person selling the website to them. They trust that it will do something positive for their business.
Sorry folks, a website with no integrated plan is a RAMMIE! A Twitter account and background is a RAMMIE! A Facebook Fan Page can even be a RAMMIE.
Websites no longer work in the model of “build it and they will come.” People are not surfing for a website, they are surfing for information. They are engaging with their friends, partners, clients, prospects and colleagues online. They a looking for referrals for the services they need.
For the consumer, social media applications and Facebook on their phone is becoming embedded in the DNA of their life. Yet many businesses think they can create a RAMMIE and all of a suddenly magically their pig with red lipstick is going to pop out of the page, mobile device or iPad to their target markets and they'll somehow find their RAMMIE website that offers very little reason for them to stay longer than 20 seconds.
What is needed is for the consultants, agencies and other services providers to educate themselves and their clients on what is really needed to succeed in business today. Bottom line, if you're not online and leveraging social media you are already left behind. If you're not building an integrated platform to engage your customers you are already left behind.
Stop building RAMMIES. Build a business platform.
The websites of yesterday have morphed into a somewhat complex marketing and business platform today. What do I mean by business platform? A business platform enables just that, business. What enables business? Well, that would be a plan, a product, a market and a medium to get it there. Yes, it includes communications, online marketing and more. However, the online marketing tactics, Facebook pages, Twitter tweets and website is NOT the business platform. The business platform is the INTEGRATION of all of these aligned with a business plan, marketing plan, goals and objectives.
So are you building a business platform to ignite your business? Or are you guilty of RAMMIES? And what do you do if you have RAMMIES. Check out the tips below. We are also launching a new training series on November 16 that will help businesses stomp the RAMMIES.
How to Spot a Rammie:
1. Is it in the PLAN?
Either it is in the PLAN or it isn’t! If it’s a bolt-on social media band-aid or addendum that has been edited 44 times it is not considered in the plan. Be honest with yourself.
2. Is it FUNDED?
Is it in your budget? If you find yourself begging, borrowing or ebaying your office chair to fund the activity or deliverable then bets are it is a RAMMIE!
3. Is it MEASURED?
Is it MEASURABLE and have you defined METRICS and measures for SUCCESS? What metrics have been defined for measurement? Are goals and objectives set, documented and agreed by stakeholders? What is the targeted ROI? To be exempt from our RAMMIE status none of these can be answered as TRUE!
4. Is it INTEGRATED?
How is it integrated into the rest of your business? If it isn’t part of the PLAN as identified in #1 chances are it’s not INTEGRATED which also means it’s probably a RAMMIE! Stating you have an add-on email that is going to your already spammed list of names announcing this new RAMMIE does not make it exempt from such status. Sorry.
Integrated means it is an INTEGRATED component to other marketing, social media and business activities. It is integrated into the DNA of what you do, how you do it. Not a sidebar sales tactic, marketing plan and/or Facebook campaign. Integrated also includes dependencies. A goal should be dependent upon more than one tactic.
Integration is key to success. Integration is the best RAMMIE killer I know of and the only thing that will bring you a positive ROI. We must execute social media as part of a bigger, more comprehensive initiative and plan that is measurable. Doing such will enable a return on investment across marketing mediums, not just the RAMMIE! This is because all marketing programs and activities will benefit from the activity if executed efficiently.
How to identify the RAMMIE consultant or agency:
1. Integration: Ask your website vendor this simple question: “how will you integrate the website into my business”? Ask them exactly how they do this? Ask them how many meetings will it take for them to understand your business. Ask them what you will be required to provide versus the research they will do.
2. Implementation: If a consultant or agency provides you an implementation plan and the first step is logo or color design, run fast! This usually means they have no clue about a business system and won't be building you anything except one more beautiful but expensive RAMMIE to your portfolio.
3. Design: Ask how exactly they will integrate and design the user experience across the multiple platforms such as the website, Facebook Fan page, Twitter etc.
4. Business Objectives: Ask what business objectives they think are best for Facebook vs. a website or LinkedIn. If they look at you with a puzzled face, run fast!
5. Research and Data: Ask if you can see a list of the questions you will need to answer to ensure success. If the questions are only related to graphics and design, run.
6. Development Process: Ask how their process works for development. If the first phase does not include a meeting to discuss business objectives, run!
How to kill the RAMMIES:
1. Get the RAMMIE planned, funded, measured and integrated. If this isn’t possible, then KILL IT!
2. Manage it. Take control. If you are a small business owner, chances are you have more control than some may at a larger company with more management layers. If you need to stop an activity, stop it! Don’t be afraid to hit pause on one thing to be successful with another!
3. Develop a plan. If you lack a plan you are going to have a hard time selling your RAMMIE kill strategy to a team who has their paycheck depending on the ugly RAMMIE pig with lipstick. Document your strategy, plans, objectives, goals and execution plan for how you will kill the RAMMIE. However, of most importance is that you focus on the plan, the business system for integration that will bring results.
4. Obtain buy-in from key stakeholders and management. Build your team of believers. If a small business this may be you and your boss. If you work in a larger company then you need to deal with your management. Share with them your plan inclusive of goals and objectives, resources required, metrics to define success etc.
5. Commit to be RAMMIE free. RAMMIES can be addicting to some. This happens because they often provide instant gratification. Avoid the instant marketing fix. Focus on the long term success of your business. Take the time to learn your markets and get in the head of your customers. If you do this, you'll realize that your RAMMIES don't speak to them in the right way, probably aren't connecting to them and will not move your business in the direction you desire. Commit to building an integrated platform for which you will conduct your business both online and offline. Trust me, it will be the best decision you can make for yourself and your business this year!
This is the first of several posts I will be doing over the coming weeks to help people deal with the RANDOMNESS that is consuming their time, business and life!
Get integrated, get focused and dare to make the hard decisions needed to drive your business toward success!
You can also check out a video I did awhile back discussing this topic in more detail!
Awesome post, Pam! (as usual)
Really nice post. Its frustrating as a marketing professional, and a marketing professor who has spent 20 years educating other marketing professionals, the folks think they can just hang out a shingle and proclaim themselves marketers. After all, they figure, its just putting some nice words on a piece of paper (or computer screen) or knowing enough HTML to make a pretty website.
As you've pointed out, its not that easy. There are budgeting, integrating, planning, and control elements. There's also the critical element of understanding YOUR target market and how to reach them. Too often untrained marketers fail to segment, the don't do market research, and they rely on tactics they read somewhere worked.
Angela Hausman, PhD
I agree with you Angela. Although learning from colleagues and friends can be great it can also be quite bad. It's important for small biz's to do their research, build a plan and ensure they are pursuing a course of action that will help them meet bi goals and objectives.
Pam, this post is brilliant! I hope you plan to repackage it 20 different ways. This is important information that needs to be spread far and wide. I'll certainly do what I can to get it disseminated. =-)
CEO / Founder
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Thanks Tracy. I agree with you 100%. We talk to biz's every day who are being guided by so called “expert” consultants and agencies with nothing more than random acts of marketing. Stop the RAMMIES!
Just say “no” to RAMMIES!
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