Don’t Redesign a Hammer.

Go to your local hardware store. Check out the hammers. While there are small differences, they all look and work like a hammer. 

No one looks at a hammer and thinks about a radical redesign to make it look cooler. Why? Because the design works.

In marketing, there are a lot of things that always work. And a lot that never do. Ignoring them just to be different or cool or cater to personal taste is like redesigning a hammer.

While a complete list would include dozens or even hundreds of items, here are five examples.

Billboard Blues
Outdoor works. But not if you make the copy too long. Or confusing instead of clear. Or all caps. Or too small. Breaking the rules siphons off every advantage the medium offers.

Digital Fumbles
Digital lets you target prospects based on behavior. That’s awesome. But all the rules of advertising still apply. Be brief. Solve a problem. Show a benefit. Tap an emotion. Engage. And make the next step easy.

Social Miscues
Want to waste time on social media? Focus on the wrong platforms. Sell and don’t stop. Use the same stock photos as everyone else. Brag about yourself. Don’t ask questions. Ignore comments. Repost irrelevant content. And above all, be boring.

Simply Service
Want more sales? Find, hire and train people who smile. Who listen. Who get excited about your product or service. Who solve problems. And who own mistakes. Then recognize them. Reward them. And retain them.

Postal Pros
Mail works. But only if you start with the tightest possible list. Send multiple messages often enough to create momentum. Find your prospect’s pain and show a path to relief. Provide multiple ways to respond. And reinforce on social and elsewhere.

Yes, marketing is changing all the time. Just like air hammers improved on regular hammers. But tools are still tools. So don’t reinvent them. Choose the right ones, then use them right. You’ll build your business faster.