Detox your strategy and take your marketing to the gym

In the spirit of January, we’re jumping on the detox-wagon and reminding you that more does not necessarily mean better, in fact the opposite could actually be true. Our advice is to make 2020 the year of focus.

Despite the hype, hope and expectations that the dawn of the new decade heralded, now we’ve jumped over the fence the feeling of hesitation is starting to set in. The general outlook is that 2020 isn’t expected to be easy. But ‘not easy’ doesn’t mean the outlook is bleak, it simply means we’re going to have to work harder, and definitely smarter, to achieve our goals. It also means we need to focus more on what really matters if we’re to win the long-term game.

The next few years will not be kind on those who cut corners and make rookie mistakes, so for the love of brands, take heed of the warnings and don’t get caught out.

Here’s a few suggestions to help make sure that doesn’t happen.

One, figure out your 'infinite game'.

If you haven’t read Simon’s Sinek’s latest book, The Infinite Game, add it to the cart now, and start reading as soon as you’ve finished this blog. Set your course to your brand’s true north. What is the ultimate course and mission your business is on? Focus on what you should be doing to remain on course. Avoid the distractions, the short-term gains and the arbitrary rules. Start with the end in mind.

Build the base.

Your strategy needs to be built on solid foundations. If your brand is weak at the core, don’t invent new distractions before you fix the essentials. If your brand is strong, keep it nurtured and look at what’s next. Build a strategy that can actually be actioned, not one that was written to make you look good in front of the board. In the words of Einstein, “If you can’t explain it to a 6-year old, you don’t know it yourself.”

Three is the magic number. (Probably)

With absolutely no science to back up this theory, experience has taught us that most people won’t remember a to-do list of more than 3 items. So keep it short. List the top 3 things you need to focus on this year. Share that list with your colleagues and encourage them to write the top three things they will be doing to help take your brand to the next level.

Less is more.

Don’t start off with hopes of managing every marketing channel under the sun. No brand has enough budget, no team has enough bandwidth. Detox your marketing plan, get the right advice and get someone objective to challenge your thinking before you commit. 

Don’t be stubborn: deploy, review, tweak, repeat.

Learn from your mistakes but be patient, if it doesn’t work, it might not be the wrong idea, just the wrong execution. James Dyson built 5,127 prototypes and hacked away for 15 years before he was ready to release the first Dyson vacuum cleaner. If at first you don’t succeed, pick yourself up and try again.

WIIFM: what’s in it for me?

It’s all your customers care about. Which means your marketing must speak to them, if you want them to act. So if you aren’t sure exactly who your customers are, and if you aren’t sure why you’re relevant to them, go back to the drawing board. Work it out, and put them first.

Finally, avoid any knee jerk reactions, resist the temptation to lay too low, do not cut your marketing spend in half and never stop investing in your brand - that would be the equivalent of running a marathon with one shoe on just to be lighter. Instead, be wise. Cut out the distractions and invest in what matters. Oh, and do it now, because next month you’ll be back to ‘real’ busy. The January card can only be played once a year.