WindfallRecently I saw a money machine that a financial institution was using as a traffic bait at an outdoor event.  It seemed to be working well as there were several people at their table, eyeing the cash floating around in the machine like post-party revelers eyeing the menu at a Waffle House. Everything just looked so good. You want it all.

The machine, and concept, are pretty straightforward: there is money in the body of the machine that is pushed aloft by wind. Your task is the grab the money out of the air and hold onto it.  The psychology of the attraction is also straightforward: The movement of the money stimulates the brain and a mental picture of you capturing many of those elusive dollars seems very real. The cash machine engages your imagination and you are drawn to the promise of successfully filling your pockets.

For those lucky few that get to enter the machine, the moment is captivating: the dollars are flying, you’re trying to snatch them from the air, you tightly hold onto the few dollars that arrive in your hand, the pressure mounts as the time in the machine winds down, and then, suddenly, it’s over. The dollars fall to the floor and you get to keep what is in your hands or pockets or what-ever-the-rule is. Usually, that is not very much. Your excitement, energy, and efforts made you feel like it was more, like you were really doing something, but the reality is most of the money stays in the machine.

Some of todays’ marketing “bright shiny objects” are like these money machines.  But, they have a cruel twist: it’s your money that is swirling around inside and you are anxiously trying to get it back.    These Johnny-come-lately marketing tactics have you investing precious marketing dollars and are returning only pennies on the dollar. Instead of amplifying your marketing budget you are treating it like playing inside a cash machine. You spend a lot of energy trying to recoup those dollars, but when the machine is turned off the money settle to the floor and the cash machine (marketing bright shiny object) operator leaves with what is not in your pocket.  You’ve had a good time, felt like you were doing something productive, but at the end of the day you have lost valuable marketing dollars and not achieved much if anything.

The way to avoid falling for the allure of a cash machine marketing tactic is simple – develop a marketing  strategy and then stick to it.  A well-crafted strategy will provide a blueprint for how you will achieve your business goals.  Your marketing strategy will also, by default, define what you are not going to do which will help you avoid wasting your time chasing all those ‘cash machine’ marketing tactics that might look so inviting but will end up only wasting your time and money.

Have doubts about the effectiveness of  your marketing?    Get a free, no-commitment, marketing check up and see what you need to do to put more dollars in your pocket and have less floating away.  Start here.

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