10 Examples of Check-The-Box Marketing

Are your marketing activities aligned to business objectives or a list of “cool” ideas?

Does your annual review include numbers, percentages and charts or paragraphs of subjective self-assessment?

Does your weekly status meeting start with a dashboard view of progress toward your annual goal or a list of action items?

If you answered “yes” to the latter option in each question, then you might be engaging in what I call “check-the-box” marketing…

You see it everywhere and might be guilty of it yourself at times. And you know how it happens: the big boss asks your team to “Go get me some social, some mobile and some more digital marketing.”

And the marketing team is off to the races, executing any tactic that might get them noticed with the folks at HQ.

After reading this list of 10 Social Networking Don’ts by InformationWeek’s Debra Donston-Miller, I was inspired to compile a list of fun examples of check-the-box marketing, curated from Twitter over the last few days:

  1. The boss tells your employees to sign-up for “The Twitter.”
  2. You have a blog with little or no content or copies of press releases.
  3. All your updates on social channels are promotional.
  4. You created a YouTube Video of your team lip-syncing a popular (unlicensed) song while wearing t-shirts with your logo on it.
  5. You developed a company-sponsored iPad / iPhone / Android apps with little utility and no relevance to your brand.
  6. You spend all your paid search funds on Google ads in the top position for the search terms performed only by the sales team.
  7. You send a tweet from the corporate account about your next event to all 3 of your followers.
  8. You email all your employees to like your Facebook page.
  9. You ask your agency to create a cool “viral” video or “advergame.”
  10. You ignore the questions you receive on social networks.

And before I get scolded for not “pushing the envelope” and being innovative in an attempt to “change the game” with “next-generation” marketing techniques, trust me when I say that I am all for innovation. In fact, today’s business climate demands it.

But I believe testing new ideas should be part of an organized and intentional plan. Innovation should be encouraged, rewarded and supported. Our organizations should seek to identify new ideas, test them against an appropriate set of business results and then communicate the learning from both the winners and the losers  across the organization.

Social media accounts should exist for the sole purpose of engaging with buyers, not as another channel for promotional messages. Blogs should speak to the needs of the reader, not the author. And “fans” should “like” your page because you are providing something of value.

I agree with SAP’s own Marcus Starke that Innovation, like the concept of becoming a social business needs to be “infused into the DNA of our organizations.” And I really like how Marcus challenges leaders to change. Innovation should move us forward and we typically need to decide what to stop doing before we can start something new.

But let’s go back to having some fun. Please share with me your favorite examples of “check-the-box” marketing and thanks to all of you who provided these great examples!
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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

7 thoughts on “10 Examples of Check-The-Box Marketing

  1. Enjoyed the post Michael. To add to people only being “promotional” or “salesy” on their social media channels, it’s a pet peeve of mine, when someone in my industry has a blog, I go to check it and each post is basically and advertisement wanting to sell a product. Completely missing the point.

    This same post would work for many categories, “check the box (x)” – people find comforting in to-do list completion instead of working towards growth and goals. Hope Luke and the others are doing well? Good week…

  2. In my world, it means you slap the latest buzzword on everything because it’s all the rage and not because it’s a meaningful descriptor of your solution. I said that yesterday about “cloud” (https://go-att.us/h6uz) but it applies to a lot of previous new ideas, too.

  3. This is a great read Michael. One of the challenges I see often especially when it comes to marketing security technologies is the need to be high level almost to the point of underestimating the intelligence of the audience we are trying to market it to. Also, the use of the fear tactic in the form of statistics of all the breaches,losses and why you need to be doing security rather than marketing the actual value of a service/product.

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