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To do or not to do. That is the question.

David Allen famously said, “You can do anything, but not everything.” While this applies to life in general, there is cause to pause and consider how this applies to what your business does from a marketing point of view as well, especially if you are a small business with limited resources. 

You often see supporters of different marketing and management tactics touting this trend or that activity as the golden ticket to success. Similar to how that one hack will keep the dreaded winter condensation off your windows for good, or how that domestic goddess on Instagram makes churning your butter look easy. The truth of the matter is that there isn't just one solution, tactic, or activity that is effective for managing your marketing function; because not every shoe fits! What worked for the bakery down the road might not work for you. That user-generated content campaign that 10X'd the hair salon's revenue might not (and most likely won't) be as effective for your law firm. 

And I'm not just talking about specific campaigns and tactics, either. This conversation also covers those beautifully drawn schematics that intricately break down the implementation of not two, not four, but seven different strategies for effectively managing your marketing function. While they may be a fantastic blueprint for a 10-man marketing team, those might also not work for you, especially if you are a two-person team managing an entire business on your own. 

So, what do we do? How do we approach this kind of information without feeling overwhelmed and disheartened that the list of things we should be doing is steadily growing longer than the list of things we are doing? 

In the many conversations I have had with small business owners, I have often had to refocus their approach to marketing. It is very common to find small businesses doing a little across a wide range of channels rather than doing a lot with a channel they know is working. This approach generally results in inconsistent marketing because it dilutes the very few resources these businesses have to begin with. It's the marketing equivalent of multitasking. In trying to do too much, they end up doing very little, and without any real impact. And what is the root cause of this marketing multitasking? Too much information comes from too many sources. 

The thing is, it's not that the information out there is wrong. It's just that businesses tend to get excited every time they find something new. You go to a workshop, see a video online, or read an article that effectively convinces you that this new tactic or approach is effective, and you decide to give it a try. And before you know it, you have a laundry list of strategies eating up your time, energy, and budget.

While it is a good idea for businesses to try new things, this exploration of approaches shouldn't come at the expense of achieving the goals that business has set for itself. If your marketing efforts aren't working or aren't as effective as you had hoped they would be, the answer is not to add more to your plate. When this happens, it's time to take a step back and get a better understanding of what is actually working. Focus on making the most of the strategy, channel, tactics, etc. that is working for you, and optimise this to perform even better before you consider trying something new. 

So, rather than piling on tactic after tactic, because they sounded good in a blog post or on social media, start with a solid base. Identify what's working for you and optimise that first. Once you have achieved that, you can think about widening your marketing mix. This way, you're building on a solid foundation so that your marketing efforts are not just busy but effective.


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