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Ad Hoc Marketing (aka – "Sure! Let's do that!")

Because today there are so many outlets available, it’s easy to shoot from the hip and "do some marketing" without considering your overall marketing strategy. Have an “out of the blue” good idea? Let’s put it on Insta. It’s National Whatever Day? Post something to FB. Current event? How can we exploit it? Marketing that reacts to an event or takes advantage of a good idea or is used to manage a crisis is often referred to as ad hoc marketing.

There are benefits to ad hoc marketing, but it comes with risks. A month or so in to the Covid pandemic, I remember seeing a tweet that went something like this: “I’ve really had it with these commercials that are like ‘We’re with you in these unparalleled times. Buy a Toyota.’” Ugh. It seemed as if everyone was tying their brand to the virus, even when it made no sense.

Social media in particular is such a quick and cheap way to communicate, it’s difficult to resist sharing on impulse. But before you decide to post, tweet, or upload, consider–at least–whether what you’re about to say

• dilutes your overall brand or confuses your market about who you are
• disrupts a campaign you’re in the midst of
• may be tone-deaf

All this said, ad hoc marketing is sometimes just what you need. Live-tweeting an industry event can serve to educate your customers and let them know you're keeping up with what's new. Posting “behind-the-scenes” content on Instagram Stories or Reels, for example, gives your audience an opportunity to follow along and "see inside" — and respond in real time. Website chat boxes allow immediate dialogue and are a faster and simpler mode of contact than either email or phone calls. And an ad hoc tactic can be a good way produce a temporary solution to a communication crises. For example, tweeting, "Yes, our website is down but we’re still taking orders. Please contact us via eMail or call us” can provide a measure of damage control.

BUT, if ad hoc marketing is the ONLY marketing you’re doing, well, I’d recommend rethinking that strategy, because it just doesn’t match the impact of a long-term campaign that is carefully researched, crafted, and executed. Multi-faceted long-term campaigns build your reputation, ensure your brand is easily identifiable, and provide a holistic view of what’s working (or not working).

So sure, absolutely. Run with a good idea, but make sure it fits in with your overall plan. Don’t yet have a marketing plan? STOP. Make one, or call us and we’ll make one for you. Not ready to call us? Google “Marketing Plan Template” to give you an idea of what a strategy looks like.

But you know, really, you should call us. We can just talk, of course. Consultations are free, btw.

Yep. Marketing help for small business.