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May 11, 2007

Marketing’s Magic Bullet

I recently read an article about the search for the marketing “Magic Bullet”. I, like the writer, have found that people often think that some one big, magic tactic will solve their marketing problems and propel them over the top into the easy ride of ongoing, no-further-effort profit.
Nowhere do we see this more clearly than on the Web. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that most companies, of EVERY level, spend close to 100% of their web budget merely on designing and building their site. They thought that just having a website was the “magic bullet”. Put it up and the profits roll in.

Then there are some people who begin to realize that more is necessary. But even then, many think that the “more” is a single magic bullet to be found somewhere in perhaps a one-time blast of optimization or the one super-web-techno-trick that will fix it all.

So in that sense, I agree with the writer. There is no ‘magic bullet’ that you can do just once and your marketing is finished forever.

BUT, there is something that qualifies in my mind for that position as the ‘central answer’ — a sort of a magic bullet that can transform everything. That something is Strategy. Now, the bad new: Strategy is not a ‘thing’ that gets done once and that’s it. With a truly strategic approach, you’ll be working at your marketing more than ever, perhaps every day.

Tactical or opportunistic marketing probably won’t get you what you want. To make a physical comparison with mountain climbing — if you simply put one foot in front of the other (each step is a tac-tic), you may or may not get up to the top of Everest (your business goal). In fact, where you’ll end up is pretty much a matter of luck. Or if you just follow what seems like a good opportunity right now, you may or may not get to your goal. In fact, in our Everest metaphor, that opportunity might lead you back down the slope or into a crevasse!

You need to be looking further ahead than the next few feet to know whether the opportunity is a good idea or not. You need to be operating from the overall picture.

To get to the top of Everest, you clearly need an outstandingly clear, concrete, well thought out, thorough plan — steered by a single ultimate goal. This is very obvious, is it not? Nothing else is going to get you to that peak. In business, it’s THE SAME. (Well, the negative consequences may not be quite as immediately drastic!)

And such formation of a goal and a plan is strategic thinking. I hereby nominate “Strategy” as the magic bullet of business and web marketing!

Author:  Michael Linehan is the founder of Marketing-Alchemy in Victoria BC. Michael is an author, web marketer and motivational speaker.

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