It’s What You Don’t Do That Defines Your Success


For creative marketers there is no limit to the number of ideas you can implement. Someone with the right communication, design and project management chops combined with an understanding of an industry could try things and iterate forever. This is a good thing.

But. You need direction to do this. You need conversion goals and specific outcomes in mind. You need to have done analysis work to understand what channels to use and how you plan to use them. You need to conduct measurement planning and develop a process to report agreed upon outcomes to stakeholders that align to business objectives.

Once you have done the work upfront there is elegance in simplicity and it actually becomes what you don’t do that defines your success. It’s easy and common to add more tactics to your mix and spread your efforts thin. Ever had a manager or boss who emailed you random ideas or tasks 10 times a day? This is what undisciplined people and brands do and is a bad idea because no one has unlimited resources. Instead, I will agree with what Robert Green states in his landmark book, that concentrating your forces is the surest path to success:

Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point.  You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another – intensity defeats extensity every time.

A mile wide and an inch deep is to be invisible. Instead, marketers need to figure out what it is that matters and focus on it relentlessly. Add new channels and tactics to your mix that make sense, but be informed enough about the shifts in technology and consumer preference to understand when something should or shouldn’t apply.

For example, if you are a large consumer brand but strapped with limited marketing resources, social might make sense for you but not in the way pundits proclaim. “Engagement” in the sense of speaking 1-1 might be a terrible idea, and using social to broadcast / as an amplification channel (creatively) might be so much smarter. Or you might want to disregard it altogether and focus 100% on ads / scaled comms. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this as part of the right strategy. Disregard any “perceived rules” and work on what makes sense for you.

The point is social (or any single channel / tactic) is not always the right answer and you should be extremely wary of those who believe it is. There is an ever-expanding mix of channels, digital and otherwise, and you can’t do everything. It’s as much about what you choose not to do as what you do.

[This post was inspired by a recent conversation started by my friend Danny Brown].

image credit: Shutterstock