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Guest

The Problem With “Down and Dirty” Marketing

By: Guest | July 9, 2012 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by Bob Reed

I have to get something off my chest.

I like strategy and process.

I like developing communications roadmaps that take companies someplace and accomplish something.

I’m not one of those “pull it out of no where” communicators. A strategy based on engaging in correct and extended tactics during a long period of time will pay off and yield tangible returns.

Call me crazy but cogent plans help me sleep at night.

Yet, so many companies persist with the need for instant gratification. They persist with short-term thinking brought on by even shorter-term attention spans.

I don’t mean to go on a rant here (apologies to Dennis Miller and not the current one; the one at the time when he had talent), but precision is needed to strategize and execute integrated social media marketing campaigns and to measure their business outcomes.

Having said that, I propose the following phrase be banned from our business lexicon forever:

Down and dirty

These three words are the harbinger of wasted time, effort, and budgets. I’ve worked on the agency side of PR and marketing for most of my career, and out of the list of useless business jargon, “down and dirty” is the one that makes me clench my teeth to the point of cracking a molar.

Too many marketers use it to convey to their agency they want to just get something out quickly and inexpensively. “Keep it simple,” they say. “You know, don’t spend too much time on it; just get it out. ”

So much for strategy.

Executing something with the down and dirty mind set is like sitting inside a German dirigible brimming with hydrogen while holding a match.

Oh, the humanity.

The only aspect remotely strategic about the phrase is the person saying it is being lazy, cheap, or both.

I’ve created a list of talking points here so next time you get asked by your client or employer for down and dirty, you’ll know what to say.

Down and dirty marketing:

  • Threatens brands because of a lack of strategy behind the efforts.
  • Does nothing to enhance reputations.
  • Won’t build products, services, or your business model.
  • Will not positively ingratiate your company to people and their needs.
  • Is sloppy.
  • Won’t encourage others to share what is good about your company when you don’t care enough to do it for yourself.
  • Is for poser marketers.
  • Doesn’t engender trust.
  • Won’t keep your company top of mind.
  • Won’t position you as a thought leader.
  • Won’t help you invest in the best marketing strategies (whatever those maybe) to boost customer loyalty and retention.

Well, almost never. There’s only one use of down and dirty will ever be acceptable:

Down and dirty describes the kind of work ethic that is needed to succeed.

Bob Reedis partner and co-founder of Element-R Partners, LLC, a B2B communications practice that works to make the impersonal, personal. He writes a social media interview series at his agency blog, B2You. Follow him on Twitter at @RAReed.

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  1. […] the enticement of “cheap and quick” and the monetization of the logo have blurred our perception of what a brand truly is. Many […]