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Creative Career Path

Focus on the Few2010.02.03

    It has always been a challenge in marketing to get your message across. With the massive explosion of both messages and media channels, we struggle to climb a slippery slope. Whether you are promoting a product or your personal brand, how do you capture more than 15 seconds of fame?

    Letters written in the sand are soon washed away. How much that also applies to messages in modern media. Ironically, although almost everything on the Internet gets archived, and there are more words in print today than ever before, the sheer volume and constant surge of new material tends to wash away our impressions before they have a chance to fully form.

    Fortunately for us, there are filters for collecting and selecting the information we want to see, and for shutting out the spam. But how do you penetrate those filters if you are on the outside? Remember that only a few will get through.

    The 80-20 rule, or law of the vital few, suggests that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers, and that in many areas of business and life, you are better off focusing on the significant few. This could also be considered a golden rule in marketing.

    In marketing today, we have the luxury of hundreds of marketing strategies to choose from. In fact, you can quickly create a fast marketing plan online choosing from over 500 weapons, tailored to your industry or interest. 

    But before you give it a try, consider that the purpose of these strategies is to leverage your value and get results. The right tools for the job in the right hands can work wonders. The 80-20 rule is a good place to start. Narrow your list of 100 down to 20, and from that select 4 or 5 marketing strategies so that you can focus on the few that matter the most.

    In marketing multiplication works faster than addition. That means it is important to create combinations of marketing strategies that reinforce each other.

    One approach is linear. You get the ball rolling by creating content on your blog, you repurpose it by crafting it into an article, presenting it in a talk or seminar, and then package that content into a product. The advantage here is that you build momentum as you go, and the results are cumulative.

    A second approach is to cross-multiply. For example, you could get a professional to take your photo portrait, use that on one full side of your business card, which leads people to your website, where they download a free report, that leads to an referral, which results in a consulting contract or a new job. The key is to link and lead.

    A third approach is more serendipitous. If there is just something about you that creates attraction and builds curiosity, people may discover your value through a seemingly random path. The excellent telephone manners of your staff leads people to your website, where they find an audio FAQ page with the same high quality, leading them to re quest a catalog, that is followed by a seasonal post card reminder, which attracts them to visit your store and make additional purchases beyond what they had originally planned. This works best if your branding is consistent and resonates with people.

    We used to talk about six degrees of separation, the theory that we are all connected to everyone else on the planet by five or fewer acquaintances or intermediaries. That theory was first proposed by a Hungarian writer in 1929, long before the Internet, so imagine how much truer and fewer it must be today.

    It is easier now to reach people, just as it is easier to be interrupted or distracted. You message may be delivered, but it is less likely to be heard. To make a lasting or favorable impression you have to get people to opt-in, to give you permission to communicate with them, to become a fan or follower, to keep in touch.

    So when you choose your magic mix of marketing strategies, start with the four or five methods that interest you most, and focus your efforts on the few people who are already your best customers or potential clients. You will find that this kind of action gives you the most traction.


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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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