Random Acts of Marketing: What They Are & Why They Don’t Work

by Debra Andrews | May 5, 2022

We’ve all heard of random acts of kindness—those small niceties you do on the spur of the moment to brighten someone’s day. Random acts of kindness are much needed in our hectic, stressful world. But random acts of marketing? Not so much.

Random acts of marketing seem innocent enough, but they’re anything but. If your marketing team is spending time and budget on these activities, you’re likely wasting finite resources on efforts that won’t move the needle on generating revenue or achieving other critical business goals. And no company can afford that.

To keep random acts of marketing from chewing up your budget and sabotaging your results, you need to recognize what they are and why they occur.

How Scattershot Marketing Happens

We define a random act of marketing as any marketing activity that doesn’t align with your business goals and strategies. They’re usually a reaction to requests from others in the business for “stuff”—a sales sheet to hand out at a trade show, an ad for the local chamber of commerce event, or an email blast for the product du jour.

Why do these scattershot activities happen?

  • Out of habit: “We’ve always run an ad in this annual directory” or “Every quarter we send out an e-newsletter.”
  • On a whim: “I had a brainstorm in the shower this morning…” or “I have a feeling that an e-blast on this service could work.”
  • Under pressure: “The sales team keeps beating us up about not having enough collateral, so let’s create some sell sheets.”
  • To mimic others: “Our biggest competitor posts on social media more often than we do. We need to get a bunch of social posts out there.”
  • To make someone happy: “My boss keeps insisting we create a new brochure. We should move this to the top of the priority list.”
  • To do something fast and easy: “Let’s just clean up this product sheet the sales team created and hand it out at the next trade show.”

Even your culture can encourage random acts of marketing. For example, in a sales-dominated culture it’s common for the business to perceive marketing as a sales enablement arm whose sole job is to churn out sales support materials like PowerPoints and sell sheets.   

When marketers engage in activities that aren’t thoughtful, proactive, strategic, or aligned with a business goal, it’s like taking a journey without a map. And as the famous Alice in Wonderland quote tells us, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

But growth-minded companies don’t want to run in circles; they want to reach a very specific destination—usually a top-line revenue number and a bottom-line profit number. To reach that destination, you need marketing to attract leads that represent the right buyers and convert them to sales. If your marketers are spending their time (and your budget) reacting to random requests and engaging in scattershot activities, you’re not going to achieve that goal.

How to Keep Random Acts of Marketing at Bay

If you’re serious about growth, then you can’t afford to spend marketing resources on random, knee-jerk activities. So, if scattershot marketing isn’t the answer, what should your marketing be based on? And how can you identify those insidious, random acts of marketing that have a way of creeping into the organization?

Here’s a good guideline:

If it’s not rooted in strategy, not designed to achieve a business objective, not aimed at your ideal buyer, and not tied to metrics, it’s very likely a random act of marketing that won’t do anything for the business. 

Let’s dissect that a bit.

  • Marketing should be rooted in strategy. And that’s why you need a strategic marketing plan—the all-important roadmap for your journey. Developing a strategic marketing plan is a research-driven process to fully understand your customers, competition, market, and objectives. Without it, you could be marketing to the wrong audience (buyers who don’t need what you’re selling), communicating the wrong message (not focusing on problems your buyer has and your product solves), or marketing the wrong product altogether (something that’s a low priority for the business)
  • Marketing should support your business goals. Maybe it should go without saying, but we’ll say it: Any activity that doesn’t help you achieve your goals is probably not worth investing resources in—marketing or otherwise. If an act of marketing can’t pass this litmus test, you’re likely throwing money away.
  • Marketing should target your ideal buyer. In the process of developing a strategic marketing plan you’ll identify your target audience and develop buyer personas that reflect their demographics, motivations, behaviors, pain points, and needs. If you bypass this step, you risk communicating to the wrong audience.
  • Marketing should tie back to metrics. Every marketing activity your team engages in should tie back to a key performance indicator (KPI). KPIs keep everyone aligned and working toward common, relevant goals and ensure you’re making informed, strategic decisions about where to spend your marketing resources. The number of marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads you’re generating, your conversion rate (what percentage of leads convert to sales), and your customer acquisition cost are all examples of relevant KPIs your marketing might tie back to.

Why Strategic Always Beats Random

Random acts of marketing won’t move the needle on generating revenue. And marketing should always be in a revenue-generating role—especially for high-growth companies with aggressive goals.

Strategic marketing does generate revenue, and often in a big way. If your objective is to generate demand and leads for high-priority products and services and convert them to sales, then you need to engage in modern, strategic marketing that keeps everyone aligned and marching toward that objective.

The bottom line: Marketing is most effective when it’s strategic, integrated, organized around specific themes or topics or services, and designed to drive a business result. That’s why it’s always worth the time and effort to develop a strategic marketing plan. It’s the roadmap you need to differentiate yourself from the competition, set priorities, truly understand your target audience, and develop proactive, thoughtful, multi-channel campaigns that drive leads and revenue.

One final note:

Don’t confuse “strategic” with “slow” or “inefficient.” Taking time to get the strategy, audience, messaging, and KPIs right first will pay huge dividends down the road. And you can engage in well-conceived quick-win activities in the meantime to drive revenue while you’re laying that groundwork. We typically find there’s lots of low-hanging fruit that can make a big impact—like adding customer testimonials to your social channels, creating a stronger landing page to link from your digital ads, or reengaging with buyers who’ve visited your website but never acted.

If you’re ready to move beyond random acts of marketing and engage in modern, strategic marketing that makes a measurable impact, contact Marketri! Our team takes a research-driven approach to developing strategic marketing plans proven to generate revenue by attracting leads that convert to sales.

Book a call with our CEO Deb Andrews to learn more.