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Like fresh produce, meat or seafood, marketing programs have an expiration date after which they become stale or spoiled. For instance, ad fatigue can set in among an audience that has seen the same creative over and over.

No marketing campaign is designed to run indefinitely. While the marketing channels you use will likely remain relevant, the creative itself—content, imagery, messaging, calls-to-action—has a much shorter shelf life.

Here are some signs that it’s time to freshen up your marketing:

  • Declining metrics. Results are the most important signal that you need to make a change. If metrics such as click-throughs, page views, conversions, shares, engagement opportunities or other key performance indicators are showing sagging performance, your creative has likely run its course.
  • New offerings. When your company comes out with a new product or service, it’s definitely time to update your creative to promote the latest offerings.
  • New strategy. Companies shift gears all the time. What was important last quarter might be on the back burner this one, with new priorities coming to the forefront. You need to adjust campaigns and creative to reflect these changes.
  • New customer needs. If your product marketing teams identify new customer needs that can be met by your products or services, you’ll want to update your advertising to take advantage of the situation.
  • Timing-sensitive offers. If you’re advertising an event or tradeshow, make sure to swap out creative as soon as the event ends. Similarly, offers with deadlines should be removed as soon as the deadline passes. Poorly timed advertising is not making the best use of your media buys.

How to Freshen Up Your Marketing

Any one of the above signs could indicate the need for you to perform a complete overhaul of your creative and messaging. However, making smaller tweaks to creative or campaigns can often extend the life of your marketing programs and keep them performing well.

  • Update the headline in an advertisement to focus on a different benefit. This is a relatively minor but often highly successful tweak that can add freshness when products offer more than one significant customer benefit. You’ve already reached everyone you can touting the first benefit. Now extend your reach by extolling another benefit.
  • Replace imagery. You don’t want to start messing with your logo or company brand, but if you’re using stock photography or illustration, swap in something new. If you’re using product photos, show the product from a different angle, in a different setting, or in a different image style. Changing typeface and colors is also an easy way to give creative a fresh look and feel.
  • Change the offer. Maybe you’ve had a white paper offer whose performance has trailed off in terms of conversions. That means it’s time for a new content offer, but you may not have to start from scratch. If the white paper is still relevant in its content and messaging, try re-purposing it into a webinar and change your creative to promote it.
  • Advertise in a different e-newsletter. Media partners such as IEEE GlobalSpec offer dozens of targeted e-newsletters. If you’ve been focusing your media buy on only one e-newsletter, experiment with another, closely-related publication that also reaches your target audience. In this case, you might not be changing your creative, but slightly adjusting your media buy.
  • Exhibit at a different event. If you’ve been attending the same tradeshows year after year, look for a new event where your message can resonate and you can connect with your target audience. There might be boutique events that are targeted but very worthwhile. If your tradeshows are your tradeshows no matter what, come up with a new theme to promote when you exhibit.

To get the most out of your media buys, you not only have to choose the right channels to reach your audience, you also have to adjust your creative strategies to keep your message fresh and relevant and to capture your audience’s interest.

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