Follow the Trends, or Follow Your Heart? by @DrRKayGreen

by Dr. R. Kay Green | Featured Contributor

Sometimes, deciding on a marketing campaign is easy. You get an idea that aligns perfectly with current trends — or you research trends at the start and develop an idea based on them. In either case, you can be reasonably sure that the marketing campaign in question is worth doing, with a decent chance of success.

But what do you do when you come up with an idea that has never been done before (or more likely, an idea that has never been done successfully before)?

Depending on how risk-positive or risk-averse you are, you might find yourself instinctively leaning towards or backing away from the new idea. Risk-positive people see an original idea as a potential “next big thing” in marketing — they could be a trend-setter. Risk-averse people might be afraid of losing money invested in a marketing campaign.

Now, either one of these outcomes are possible. And I would advise against going with your “gut instinct” just because it is in your nature to take risks or to avoid them.

Instead, you should treat a decision like this as you would treat any business decision — with the consideration that it deserves. Look at your idea and ask three key questions.

1. Is this something that my target audience will genuinely enjoy?

This question is, possibly, the easiest to answer. You know your audience better than anyone because you are the one interacting with them regularly. You, hopefully, spend time talking with them, and you have a clear understanding of their likes and dislikes.

Can you picture them interacting with this marketing campaign? Go beyond simple guesses and try and back up your basic premise (yes, they would like this or no, they would not like this) with evidence. If you think they would like this marketing campaign, is it because you have seen them interact with a similar one? Because it plays to their interests? If yes, then you can reasonably follow this idea.

If you cannot think of a reason that your target audience would like this campaign, perhaps it is better to follow a trend with a proven track record of success.

2. Will this reach potential consumers outside of my current audience? How?

Engaging your current audience with a marketing campaign is important. But, obviously, a key goal should be to entice new audience members to join.

Think carefully about how your potential marketing campaign will achieve this. Will there be a strong push on social media? Will you be reaching out to any traditional media outlets? Are you relying on word of mouth? What is your success rate using these outlets?

It also pays to ask yourself why people outside of your current audience would be interested in this particular campaign. If you can answer all of these questions with confidence, you can consider moving forward.

If you do not think that this campaign will get much traction, again, this is a sign that you would probably be better off consulting trends and trying to reach new audience members this way.

3. Has anyone else done something like this before? How did it work for them?

As much as we like to think of our ideas as original, it is very likely that your particular idea has been done before. If it has never been a trend, that usually means one of two things:

  1. It was unsuccessful, or
  2. It was successful, but did not gain enough traction to become a trend.

If a campaign was unsuccessful for whatever reason, ask yourself why you think that was, and why you think your campaign will be different. Is your target audience more receptive to the concept? Is the changing media landscape more ready and willing to try it? Do you have more resources than the person who put together the campaign?

If it was successful, then ask yourself if you think you can replicate that success. Why or why not?

Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with following trends — and there is nothing wrong with not following them. After all, if we only followed others, no new trend would ever be created. Just make sure that, if you are trying something out of the ordinary, you are making the decision for the right reasons — because you want to connect with people who want or need your product or service, and you genuinely believe that this is the way to do it.


Dr. R. Kay Green – Marketing Expert from RKG Marketing Solutions Inc. from Atlanta, GA.

Dr. KayDr. R. Kay Green is the CEO/President of RKG Marketing Solutions Inc. With over 190,000+ Twitter followers, 35,000+ Facebook Likes, and the Top 1% LinkedIn profile designation, Dr. Kay, a self-motivated trailblazer, is the Quintessential “New-Age” Professional Woman, and PhD Marketing Pro. She earned a Doctorate of Business Administration in Marketing, and has completed PhD coursework in Leadership and Organization Change. She also holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing and Management, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, and an Associate of Arts in Marketing Management.

She is affiliated with several prestigious universities and has instructed over 350 courses online. A popular speaker on Marketing and Business topics, Dr. Green is currently featured on Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Black News, The Network Journal, Business Review USA, Digital Journal, College View, Business New Hampshire Magazine, Bay State Banner, Reader’s Circle, North Dallas Gazette, Harlem News, Top News Today, One News Page, NE Informer, Women in Business PR News, Consumer News Today, Women PR News, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Daily Herald, The Miami Herald, and Book News Articles.

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