Often people ask me what marketing or sales books I recommend, and while I don’t have one favorite, I frequently read Seth’s Blog, written by Seth Godin. Seth, by the way, also wrote the culture-defining book, The Purple Cow (a must read).
What I like so much about Seth is that he doesn’t try to over-complicate marketing. He isn’t one to use fancy words or terms to make himself sound smarter. He just is smarter. So, I was reading his blog today and came across an article that hit the mark when describing marketing. He said,
Luck might not be a strategy but setting yourself up to be lucky might be. Luck is a tactic. An unpredictable one, sure, but if it works, it works. A useful strategy might be: I’m going to establish a pattern of resilience and apply information and testing to discover what works. And one of the tactics to support that strategy could be showing up in places where luck can help me out. If I can persist long enough, I’ll get lucky.
This is spot on. Good marketing requires a pattern of strategic decision making that creates luck. Marketing is both an art form and a science. It requires both creativity and organization—a sense of freshness where innovation comes to life and a method to channel that innovation into results.
What I love most about marketing is the sheer ingenuity that comes out of a brainstorm session. The old adage of “two heads are better than one” is very true – and three heads are better than two. That’s because we, as marketers, feed off each other’s ideas.
Whiteboards are our canvas and we all love to paint!
But creativity is not the whole story. Good marketing also requires meticulous organization, consistent project management, and methodical testing and analyzing. Without the science behind your marketing, you might get lucky, but more often than not, you will spend time and money on the wrong tactics. So, while we all love brainstorming and developing a treasure trove of big ideas, the majority of marketing success is found in the day to day, hard work.
But how do you keep the fire burning through the tedium? How can you be expected to come up with inventive strategies when you are spending your day planning, managing and fighting fires?
Build a Team
One trick is to surround yourself with a great support team. Whether you are part of a 20-person marketing team or you are the owner of your company, and therefore responsible for initiating marketing, you will increase your “luck” by putting yourself in places where luck can find you.
In other words, don’t be afraid to hire people who have more experience than you and can teach you what they know. Personally, I like to hire people that I think are smarter than me—either in their area of expertise or in their ability to research, learn, and absorb quickly. That’s how an “old-timer” like me can keep abreast of the current evolutions in our industry. Every year, we hold a strategic planning offsite to stimulate new ideas, learn new skills, and connect as a team. This is where we prepare and create opportunities for luck to do its thing.
Create a Framework for Success
Another key is to have great strategy. believes strongly in the power of a Messaging Framework. It’s a crucial first step with new clients that we take before diving into their individual deliverables.
A messaging framework includes a value proposition, unique points of differentiation, and target personas, along with a host of other specifics about a company and its customers. Each framework helps to ensure that all materials that are developed look and sound consistent – the same that you would want from branding visuals.
It is also essential to have a strategy when it comes to each facet of marketing – what are your goals for social, digital, events, website, sales materials, etc. Too often, we see companies producing one-off pieces that don’t connect to a larger message, and detract from carefully cultivated user experiences. This confuses your prospects and can even confuse your own team! Instead of one-off ads, landing pages, or sales documents, we recommend featuring 3 or 4 pieces in the same campaign. Even if that means you have fewer campaigns, the ones you deploy will gain greater traction with your target audience.
Fill the Gaps
A final strategy to cultivating luck is to hire for what you don’t know. It’s always interesting to me that a company will hire an accountant, a lawyer, even a dog groomer, but thinks that they can do their own marketing without help. You know your company best, but a skilled marketer can help you communicate your message more effectively and efficiently, leveraging years of experience to create a marketing plan that covers all of your bases.
My recommendation would be to hire someone who can assist with your strategy, who has done it before, and who knows what works and doesn’t. There is a reason for the old adage that says, “50% of my marketing is working – I just don’t know which 50%.” Find a marketing partner who can make that other 50% work.