A very typical marketing strategy often includes doing more to get better results. It could be anything from creating more content to sending another email or placing ads on other properties to posting more often on social media. The thinking generally is if I do one more thing that’s what will put my campaign over the top. But does executing more tactics really lead to a more successful campaign?
How much is too much?
Every day there are 7.5 million blog posts published and 720,000 hours of video uploaded to YouTube. If podcasts are your thing, there are now almost 2.5 million podcasts with close to 60 million total episodes. And on LinkedIn, there are 2 million posts, articles, and videos published every day.
I could keep going but I think you get the point, there is a lot of content produced and posted every single day and I didn’t even look at paid media or email marketing. So does this common approach to produce even more content or post more often really work?
Less is more in your marketing strategy
There are certain advantages to doing more such as an increased opportunity to have your post viewed on the different social platforms. Frequency is the key to success on many of them. Or, more blogs and web pages do create the opportunity to drive more traffic to your site as you may appear in more search results if done correctly. Not to mention more impressions increase the number of clicks through sheer volume.
But, more and more research supports the notion that poor quality content hurts conversion rates and can lead to long term impacts on the brand and purchasing preferences. Too frequent posts and random pieces of content can look spammy if they are not saying anything new or are totally irrelevant to the audience. And certain paid media will perform better for certain pieces of content so you are only wasting money if these are not targeted correctly.
But a more obvious argument for less is more is the fact that every marketing team has limited resources, whether they be people or budget so you can’t keep doing more and more forever. Quite often quality is what suffers first and most but even keeping that at a certain level is not sustainable as quality is harder to scale than quantity.
Less is more doesn’t just apply to the amount of content pieces or number of posts and ads. More importantly, it could mean targeting fewer verticals or accounts. It could mean focusing on fewer topics that are more important to your audience. Focusing your efforts on a specific target audience and ensuring you understand their key challenges and needs may be the best way to apply the less is more principle.
Using data to find your killer tactics
While it may be easy to say I’m going to do fewer things, better, putting this into practice is far from easy. The “to do” list keeps getting longer and there is always a new tactic to try. When you do less, it’s crucial to ensure you are doing the right things. You need to find the killer tactics and stop doing the ones that are not working.
Unfortunately, what is a killer tactic for one campaign may be different for another. For example what works in B2C may not work in B2B or what works in one industry may not work in another. There are so many factors from audience to message and content to channel that contribute to deciding what is a killer tactic or not. So how do you find the killer tactics to execute as part of your marketing strategy?
It all comes down to setting a clear goal and then using data to see which tactics are working and which are not. It can help you see which content is resonating and which formats are not. It can help you see which channels are reaching your audience and which ones are just a waste of money. I’ll cover the use of data and setting clear goals in a follow on post but for now let me say that without it you have no hope of ever doing less in your marketing strategy.
With the right goals and data in place to measure against them, selecting your killer tactics can be as simple as dropping the bottom 50% of your content pieces or media outlets or social platforms in an effort to focus on the right things. You can also use data to optimize for even better results.
Making the leap to a better marketing strategy
While all of this seems like common sense, putting it into practice can be what trips you up. Doing fewer tactics as part of your marketing strategy is as much a mindset and cultural adjustment as anything else. You need to get buy-in from senior executives on the approach so that you are allowed to focus on quality rather than always scrambling to do one more thing.
It might help if you know that I’m not suggesting doing less means you don’t try new things. If you really have dropped 50% of what you are doing before, there is nothing wrong with taking 10-20% of your time and budget, to try something new whether that be a topic, content format, channel or something else. But, if you go down this path, it’s even more crucial that you use data to quickly determine if the new tactic is working or not or you run the risk of falling back into old habits.
So, the next time you are defining your strategy, I leave you with this simple challenge before you finalize it – stop doing at least one thing that you planned to do. I would argue you should stop doing a lot more than one thing but I’m also pragmatic. Whatever the number is, make a commitment to doing fewer things and spend the time to do them better. We need to stop our obsession with trying to do everything as it frankly won’t lead to better results.