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Getting the basics right

October 16th, 2012

It’s easy to forget the second word when talking about Digital Marketing. The word ‘digital’ just describes the channel being used. It’s actually all about ‘marketing’. Without a thorough understanding of the basics of marketing, the next new shiny toy won’t help reap any rewards.

My clients often ask me what the next new technology or channel is for their digital marketing efforts. I can often sense the frustration when I tell them to first work on their website, write some compelling thought-leadership pieces and send excerpts out to their audience using an email campaign tool. Then measure, adjust, refocus, lather, rinse and repeat. Only when you’ve exhausted the basics should we consider adding a new channel to your marketing.

Learning the basics of marketing is easy. Executing the basics of marketing is hard. Not difficult, but it takes time, labour and consistent persistence. It takes some time (months, usually) to see measurable results from basic marketing. But once you have the basics right and firing on all cylinders, adding a new technology or channel into the mix is much easier.

As my old boss used to say… “Don’t worry about the tricks of the trade until you’ve actually learned the trade!”

It seems more and more of my blog posts have the obligatory Seth Godin reference. It didn’t take long to find a post from Seth that (again) summed this up better than I could:

Fledgling sushi chefs spend months (sometimes years) doing nothing but making the rice for the head chef.

If the rice isn’t right, it really doesn’t matter what else you do, you’re not going to be able to serve great sushi.

Most of the blogging and writing that goes on about marketing assumes that you already know how to make the rice. It assumes you understand copywriting and graphic design, that you’ve got experience in measuring direct response rates, that you’ve made hundreds of sales calls, have an innate empathy for what your customers want and think and that you know how to make a compelling case for what you believe.

Too often, we quickly jump ahead to the new thing, failing to get good enough at the important thing.


Categories: Basics, Strategy
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