Marketing is a Lot Like Finding the Perfect Gray Paint

Robin Emiliani  /  Apr 12, 2019

Why Sampling Marketing Tactics Is a Lot Like Sampling Paint Colors

I recently moved to a new home that was full of brown. Brown floors, brown granite, brown tile, brown cabinets, brown walls. My new sea of brown. And it tormented me. Every corner I turned, the shock of the brown would slap me in the face.

But I acted quickly and set out to find the perfect gray paint. One that wasn’t too green, too yellow, too blue, or too purple. One that was just the right shade of gray that evoked a sense of calm and sophistication. It sounds fairly easy, right? Visit the paint store, gather a few paint strips, and narrow it down.

And I was so careful about choosing the right gray. After 15 small samples, 15 test patches on a wall in every room, and 100 heated debates with my fiance and children, I found it. The perfect gray paint that would turn my brown hell into a glorious gray sanctuary. I felt so sure of myself! I was so excited because I finally selected the perfect choice! This perfect gray seemed light enough, cool enough, warm enough, neutral enough, classy enough. No undertones whatsoever. Just perfect.

Unfortunately, my process took a wild turn once the painter finished the first room. WTF color is this? BABY BLUE? This was no nursery. It was supposed to be an elegant, clean-looking entryway. A color that made you feel like you were stepping inside a coastal retreat. Instead, it was a color that made you question where the crib and glider were.

The horror. The anxiety. The damn money I spent.

To make a long story even longer (sorry), after 25 more pots of sample paint, and 400 more test patches on the wall, I found the right gray. The perfect gray. The one that soothes you when you walk in the door. The gray that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a friendly Carolina home, but has a hint of Four Seasons Hotel class to it.

But marketing is a lot like finding the perfect gray paint. In order to build the perfect campaign, you have to keep trying different strategies, channels, and tactics to see what works. Because odds are, you’re not going to nail it on the first try.

We do a lot of campaigns for our clients and we target a lot of different types of people. Everyone from CFOs, to CMOs, to healthcare providers, to home buyers, and even marathon runners. But every campaign we construct is different from the next. And almost every campaign gets modified in some way at some point. So we keep sampling. We keep testing. We keep looking at it with a keen eye to see if it seems slightly off. And then we’ll switch it again until it’s almost perfect.

So build your campaigns and don’t be afraid to say, “This doesn’t look quite right. Let’s make it better.” And like paint, a campaign that seems off can be changed quickly with just a little bit of work. Tweak the shade of your campaign until it’s perfect.


Recent Posts