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Erik Fowle

Published on

October 10, 2022


creative campaigns, digital marketing, marketing

Of Nike’s famous, “Just do it” tagline, its VP of Global Brand Marketing, Davide Grasso said, “We actually don’t believe in slogans. Instead, what we’ve found to be most effective is inviting people to join us in what we believe in and what we stand for.” It’s why the phrase, coined in 1987, continues to be among the most recognizable marketing copy today. “It’s genuine and speaks to our core mission.” 

The advertising agency behind “Just do it” conceived the idea to tie together disparate ads for a campaign. But because the phrase embodied the ethos of the sports-apparel company, it became a long term touchstone.  

One-line epiphanies like Nike’s are few and far between, but the example illustrates how companies can reach symbiosis between short and long term marketing efforts. When short term campaigns reflect a company’s attitude, they help fuel its long term strategy. Not because they’re catchy or controversial but, as Grasso puts it, they’re genuine and speak to the company’s core mission.  

It’s hard to compete with Nike’s resources and brand recognition, but you don’t need their bankroll to create a symbiosis between your short and long term marketing plan.  

nike white LED just do it sign

Map Out a Mission-Driven Big-Picture Plan

The gist of long and short term symbiosis is that short term goals help achieve incremental gains toward a longer term vision. But if Nike has taught us anything, it’s that the relationship between the two should be about much more than a big checklist incorporating many smaller checklists. So, while the first consideration for marketing symbiosis might be to map out your big-picture plan, it’s important to keep in mind that the plan should reflect your company’s mission.  

Remember, you don’t just want a series of catchy taglines. You want campaigns that embody your company’s ethos. To that end, your big-picture view and long term vision should get at what you want your company to be known for, what you want your brand to represent. Every piece of marketing content you put forward will reflect that mission and carry your purposeful brand voice 

Let’s say you run a software company. Your software is an AI-based platform that retail companies can use to help them price products better. Long term, you’d like to have 25% of the market share in your category. That’s great, but “25% of the market share” isn’t a company ethos, and if that’s all you’re working with, chances are you’re not going to birth the next memorable tagline, anyway.  

To get to 25%, you need to decide what your company mission is — what you want to be known for beyond your pricing tool. That’s what we mean when we say you need to map out the big picture. Grasso said that Nike’s mission is to “serve and honor athletes.” What’s your AI company’s mission? Maybe it’s, “helping companies make smarter choices,” or “to level the playing field.” 

Only when your marketing efforts point back to a mission can you develop genuine short and long term strategies and content 

Practice Consistent and Frequent Messaging

There was certainly some luck involved in “Just do it” catching on the way it did. Even the founder of the ad agency who came up with the idea caveated the concept. If this tagline didn’t work, Nike was free to leave it out of future marketing material. Since the initial short term marketing campaign, of course, we’ve seen that phrase over and over. It’s become synonymous with Nike itself.  

Chances are your first tagline won’t carry that sort of cachet. But if you develop content that is true to your mission and use it over and over, it might just start to hold more weight. If you’re a 90s kid or older, think about radio jingles you have stuck in your head, or even TV-advertisement songs you can’t get rid of. Why are those still there? Repetition of the same message.  

You’ll want to be more strategic with the way you carry out your brand marketing. Simply repeating the same phrase alongside your company’s brand name isn’t going to cut it. But the idea is similar. A short term marketing campaign builds momentum toward longer term goals. You want 25% market share? Better build awareness first. How about a PR campaign architected around an upcoming conference?  

“Level the playing field” posts on social media point readers back to information about your upcoming speaking session at the conference. A blog on your company website about how your product levels the playing field and why you believe in more equal opportunity for companies competing with giants in their industry.  

As fall turns to winter, you launch a “level the playing field” campaign about Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday deal season. You can let companies know that they can price their products to meet steep discounts without incurring a loss. That’s keeping things even!  

By repeating your consistent messaging, you let any potential customer know: 

A. What you can do for them 

B. That you’re helping these other business owners because that’s your mission, not just a directive to sell products 

These short term marketing campaigns generate awareness about your company and interest in working with you. As more prospective customers learn who you are, visit your site and fill out referral forms, you get closer to achieving your 25% market share. Practicing messaging consistency and frequency is a crucial way of building that forward momentum.  

paper airplane sign on brick wall

Set Benchmarks Along the Way; Review and Adjust as Needed

I hope this goes without saying, but any marketing strategy requires measurement. Your long term marketing plan at this point is obvious: 25% of the market. Every short term marketing tactic along the way must also revolve around some sort of measurable outcome.  

Maybe you want the campaign during the industry conference to entice people to watch a product demo, as a brand awareness-building exercise. You’d better measure the number of demos you provide and make it easy to contact demo viewers later.  

For your holiday shopping campaign, maybe you’ve created content about what makes pricing during those times so hard. You have an e-book on the website, a blog post and some social media posts to promote that content.  

Measuring progress, whether through KPIs or other benchmarks, allows you to adjust your campaigns as needed. E-book not getting the amount of downloads you’d like? Maybe it’s time to pause the paid ad campaign and reconsider the copy. Trade conference demos not turning into leads? Next time out, you’ll need to think of a different networking approach, and so on.  

Make Sure Your Plans Fit Together 

Benchmarking short term activity will also help tie each smaller campaign back to the larger vision. You can achieve 25% market share, but you’ll likely need a sound search engine optimization (SEO) practice and strong ongoing lead-building exercises — longer-term efforts. If you don’t measure the impact of each new blog post on SEO or understand every e-book or social media ads’ potential for creating leads, you may end up with disparate short term campaigns that don’t help achieve longer term marketing goals.  

In a nutshell, you’re using more temporary tactics to build toward longer term goals. If you only consider marketing a series of tactics and goals, however, you may not be lending these activities the weight they deserve. “Just do it” isn’t famous because Nike threw 10 different slogans at the wall to see what would stick, even if there was some luck involved in its creation. It worked because, even as a short term campaign headliner, it embodied what the company believes in.  

Following this blueprint is the surest way to turn a series of campaigns and tactics into true symbiosis between short and long term marketing efforts. 

Need a hand with your short term goals and your long term goals? Reach out to our digital marketing team today! 

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