Can the Marginal Gains Deliver Big?


When it comes to marketing campaigns, is it all about the big innovative award-winners, or doing the marginal gains stuff well?

On our recent podcast with The Native, we discussed whether we should be chasing the big one-off stunts or getting the small stuff done right.

Of course, it’s about getting the combination of these things right, but it’s a rich subject area when it comes to planning how to resource your team and where to build into your strategy the day-to-day versus big ticket ideas.

You can listen in full on the podcast but our key musings on this include;

Marketing’s for life not just for a failing business issue. It can solve any manner of challenges but you really won’t get significant or sustained results if you try and turn it on and off. Awards can play a really vital role in motivating and recognising the work from your team and, in part, help to represent good work to the rest of your organisation – often where marketing is seen as a light-touch. But awards should be icing on the cake of good work.

Campaigns are key but you need the behind the scenes stuff. Attracting attention is great but if you can’t convert that interest into leads, track what that engagement looks like and use it to inform your activity down the line… what’s the point? Solid CRM, functioning website and good data insights across your channels may not sound the sexiest, but all these parts contribute to the whole and you won’t realise even the best ideas’ full potential if you don’t have your house in order.

Be consistent and authentic or get called out. Particularly in youth marketing but in fairness most audiences are becoming adept to skilfully searching when they’re interested. If your campaign stunt looks amazing but your website has 101 dead ends, or you make it impossible to find the right content, be warned. Audiences will either walk away or in some cases call you out, causing more damage to your brand.

Take note of the small things. No campaign is ever 100% perfect at launch, but listening to how audiences engage with it and what’s working (or not!) can help you adjust and evolve it. In student recruitment, think about the channels and processes behind the campaign that you can build year-on-year, whatever the key message, hook or stunt you work on each cycle. Those are the things that can really support the big ideas. Sometimes the small stuff can have a big impact. Read ‘The Small Big’ for inspiration!


Photo by Alexandra on Unsplash