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Victoria Ashe, Business Director

Victoria Ashe, Business Director

Is Your Marketing Suffering from ‘The X Factor Syndrome’?

There’s nothing we love more than settling down on a Saturday night to watch The X Factor! Like most, the auditions are our favourite part, especially when people with no talent try their luck at fame and fortune – yes, it’s cringesome, but you just can’t help watch it from behind the cushion!

However, what never ceases to amaze us is the number of friends and family that fail to whisper a quiet word in the ear of their loved ones before they get to the auditions in the first place – something along the lines of, “Don’t be ridiculous; you can’t sing a note!” What’s even worse is when an army of loyal supporters arrive en masse, talk-up the singer’s talent and then merrily send them on their way while they stand backstage cheering – only to be totally dumfounded when the judges laugh in their face. 

At Mighty, we call this ‘The X Factor Syndrome’ – whereby people only seek approval and opinions from others that already have a biased view of them and what they do.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen our so-called syndrome reach epidemic proportions in marketing, especially when it comes to start-ups. Let us explain. As part of our own marketing efforts, we’ve been attending numerous events and networking sessions – meeting lots of other businesses and building up our contacts. Given what we do, many have asked us for our opinions on their marketing collateral, website or potential PR stories.

Indeed, the majority of people who ask are those that have produced their own branding and literature. We are always as honest as possible, and if we feel that something could be improved, we say so. More and more, we’re finding that when our reply isn’t particularly favourable, we hear the responses, “Well, my wife likes it”, “All my friends think it’s good”, or “All the guys in the office think it’s brilliant”. Yes, you’ve guessed it, The X Factor Syndrome.

We aren’t trying to say that the input of such people isn’t important, but just because a brochure gets three yes’s from friends and family, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for the target audience!

Basing the way a business communicates and presents itself on the sole input of friends and family makes no sense to us. They are not going to give the objective and unbiased critique often needed when developing marketing materials – especially if the person asking for their opinion has produced it themselves.

While cost is a big consideration for every business, organisations need to remember that their marketing collateral is a silent salesman – something that talks to potential new customers in their absence; convinces targets to enquire or to meet; persuades leads that their service is the one to go for when there is more than one option on the table; and doesn’t require an annual salary, 25 days a year paid holiday and a top-of-the-range BMW.

The most successful clients we work with are companies that have recognised the importance in investing in marketing and producing professional collateral – using it to drive their business forward.

So let’s leave The X Factor Syndrome to those who can’t sing, because when it comes to marketing, it’s the public vote that really matters.

Now we’ve got that off our chests, don’t even try and get us started on the 'Strictly Come Dancing Disorder’!

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# Marketing, Strategy