Strategy

The 2 Skills it Takes to Succeed Today

Brad Smith
August 22, 2011

Online marketing is different than traditional marketing and advertising.

Better in some ways, but not in others.

It’s different. Traditional strategies don’t fit in this dynamic environment. Traditional skill-sets can’t handle the pace and evolution.

There are fundamental differences in how you reach people online and make money.

Specifically, there are two crucial factors that you must master to succeed in online marketing.


New Marketing Strategy

Image from Intersection Consulting

1. Build Assets, Don’t Rent

Online, you need to build assets. Marketing assets are things you own and can profit from over time.

Brian Halligan, Co-Founder of HubSpot (an internet marketing software company for small and medium businesses) recently gave an interview where he shed light on this important distinction.

I can do a kind of compare and contrast between the old and new models as I see them. The traditional CMO is a renter who is skilled at putting together long time horizon marketing budgets and plans.

The idea is that they will have a ‘waterfall effect’ and once they have placed their message in the various well timed, controlled and somewhat predictable outlets then the business cascades from these efforts.

The new model, like I see Mike being for HubSpot, is a marketing asset builder. Renting space is not the primary means of gaining attention but the new CMO must be interested in building marketing content that is owned and used by the company in many different ways.

They work on a very short time horizon. I liken it to the agile software development model where you have monthly sprints to get things done then tweaking occurs as feedback comes from customers. Marketers need the same mindset.

To succeed online, you need to create exceptional content, community around that content, and an audience that will share your work. And to top it off, improve your technical skills to fuel your efficiency.

2. Experiment and Iterate

The second vital principle is experimentation.

Internet marketing is just like the scientific method. You hypothesis, test and iterate depending on the results.

No one knows what will work ahead of time. Detailed planning and focus groups are tired, slow and inaccurate.

Brian also touched on this principle:

The new CMO needs to think like a VC in terms of placing lots of bets. VC’s may place 10 bets with 7 being a complete “swing and a miss” while 2 may be doubles and one home run which is the real winner. Marketers today have to take risks to see what will work in this new market environment.

You need to test quickly and iterate even faster.

You make little bets. Double down on the winners, and kill the losers fast.

The only way to prosper in this new world is to build assets and experiment to discover what really works.

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