Our Cure for Shiny Object Syndrome in Marketing

Brandon Pollard

Do you or someone you know constantly forward articles about the “next big thing” in marketing? Do you find an irresistible urge to be the first to try every new social media platform or channel? Are your strategies lacking solid data to back them up? You might suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome if you answered yes to any of these.

What is Shiny Object Syndrome in Marketing?

Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) in marketing refers to the tendency to become captivated by the latest, often flashy, marketing trends. It is when the allure of something new and attention-grabbing diverts focus from existing, often more proven, marketing efforts. 

Marketers afflicted by SOS may find themselves constantly chasing after the next big thing, often at the expense of the current strategies that may already be effective.

How to Recognize Shiny Object Syndrome

Beware of the allure of the new and shiny. We’ve all fallen for shiny distractions. These indicators guide your marketing choices, focusing on what truly matters.

Recommendations from Non-Marketing Teams

Watch out for when suggestions for new strategies or channels originate from departments outside of marketing. While their enthusiasm is commendable, evaluating the potential impact on your marketing goals is crucial.

Lack of Clear KPI/Business Outcome

If a proposed tactic or channel lacks a defined Key Performance Indicator (KPI) or clear business outcome, it’s an SOS red flag. Every marketing endeavor should have a measurable goal to ensure it aligns with your overall strategy.

The Dreaded “Article” Forward

When colleagues flood your inbox with articles on the latest marketing trends, it’s a sign SOS might be afoot. While staying informed is crucial, it’s equally important to filter through the noise and discern what aligns with your objectives.

Do You Just Want to Be First?

Being an early adopter can be exciting, but it’s important to ask yourself if it serves a greater purpose. Don’t let the desire for novelty divert you from achieving meaningful marketing results.

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Examples of Shiny Object Syndrome

These examples from the KORTX team shed light on how even experienced marketers can be enticed by the allure of the new and untested.

Geofencing: A Shiny Letdown

“A client was very interested and excited about setting up a Geofencing campaign. It promised real-time access to conference attendees – an exciting notion.
The reality turned out to be quite different. With the unpredictability of reach in a busy conference environment and the intricacies of technology, we barely scratched the surface, utilizing just 1% of the allocated budget.

This experience etched a crucial lesson: a comprehensive understanding of the processes is paramount. While the concept was alluring, it demanded a meticulous approach to deliver the desired results.”

“Brandon Pollard

Director of Strategy, KORTX

CTV QR Codes: Stop Linking to the Homepage!

I have been seeing a lot of QR code misuse lately. Utilizing QR codes in video and Connected TV (CTV) advertising is tempting. It also might not always be the best solution. It is crucial to be realistic about viewer behavior. Particularly among older demographics, expecting them to pause, scan, and engage may be overblown.

While QR codes surged during the pandemic, concerns about security and misuse were valid. Effectiveness hinges on strategic execution. Simply embedding them in every ad isn’t smart. They should complement the brand message, not distract from it.

Furthermore, proper tracking and discoverability via SEO and social channels are essential. The destination post-scan should offer immediate, compelling content, not just redirect to a homepage.


Director of Strategy, KORTX

Netflix’s Ad-Supported Option: Tempting, but Not Always Terrific

“When Netflix introduced an ad-supported option, it understandably drew considerable attention. The prospect of reaching their audience was undeniably alluring for many of our clients. However, upon closer examination, the reality didn’t match the initial allure.
While Netflix reports increased subscriptions, the scale for targeted inventory, campaign metrics, minimum commitments, and high CPMS were difficult to manage. Many clients needed to decide on wanting to have fewer impressions within Netflix or higher reach and frequency, niche targeting and outcome-based reporting. Most clients quickly realized that other channels and streaming platforms offered far more efficient alternatives, like Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST).”

“Rachel McGovern

VP of Sales, KORTX

How to Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome & Achieve Innovation Balance

Successfully navigating marketing innovations demands a strategic approach, ensuring you don’t succumb to the allure of distractions. Consider two crucial strategies:

Prioritize Data-Driven Decisions

In a landscape teeming with options, let data guide you. Give priority to metrics aligned with your brand and campaign objectives. Rely on concrete data for informed choices, avoiding impulsive decisions. 

Emphasize Testing!

Testing’s importance cannot be overstated. Conduct small-scale experiments before allocating significant budget and resources to a new channel or tactic. This assessment helps evaluate viability and potential before a full-scale launch. Rigorous testing delivers evidence to distinguish the truly valuable from the merely tempting.

Clear Goal Alignment

Any new channel or tactic must align with your current marketing goals. It might not be the right fit if it doesn’t enhance your reach or engagement.

Audience Research & Segmentation

Target people and not platforms. Prioritize understanding your target audience’s preferences and behaviors. This insight helps in selecting channels and tactics that resonate with them effectively.

🪞 Related Article: Successful Programmatic Advertising Measurement: Moving Beyond Vanity Metrics Start optimizing for impact. It is time to say goodbye to vanity metrics and see real results!

Evaluating New Tactics & Channels: A Framework

Applying this framework establishes a structured approach to assess the viability and potential impact of introducing a new marketing tactic or channel into your strategy.

Is it Duplicative of Current Strategies? ✅ ❌

If it overlaps significantly, it will not offer incremental value and could dilute efforts.

Does it Have a Clear Goal/KPI? ✅ ❌

A clear KPI (in an available metric) ensures alignment with broader marketing objectives and facilitates effective measurement.

Is it Budget Efficient? ✅ ❌

Consider the potential return on investment (ROI) compared to alternative options.

Have Others Seen Success? ✅ ❌

Study industry peers for successful tactics. Their experiences help set benchmarks.

Striking the Balance: Navigating Shiny Objects & Innovations

Shiny object syndrome is curable! Marketers can cut through the noise by prioritizing data-driven decisions, rigorous testing, and focusing on what drives results.

It’s not about avoiding all shiny objects. It is about determining which are truly valuable for your brand’s success. With a thoughtful approach and a clear evaluation framework, you can confidently and purposefully navigate the dynamic world of marketing innovations.

Stay innovative and stay strategic.

👥 Target People. Not Platforms.

The audience-first approach is always best. We recommend starting with a FREE KORTX Intelligence Report.

About the Author
Brandon Pollard is the Director of Ad Operations at KORTX. He enjoys cloud rap, soccer, and traveling.

Brandon Pollard

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