Keep Marketing Simple: Think Before You Market

by Nov 11, 2021Branding, Content Strategy, Marketing, Resoundcast

Keep Marketing Simple: Think Before You Market

by | Nov 11, 2021

“Smart” people make things complicated. Effective people start with a simple plan they can understand. And then they build on it. This is especially true in marketing, where you can’t know how your audience is going to interact with your message on a particular media channel. Even experienced marketers can’t really be sure most of the time. So what’s the solution? Hire a confident marketer who knows lots of fancy words, but can’t really explain what they mean? Or do you start simply, even without research, and build from there?

A Working Hypothesis is Thinking in Action

The simplest way to get really, really good at anything is to gain an understanding of a simple plan and build on it. Just make a plan and make it work a little bit. Then build on what success you have.

  • Learning to code? Make a “Hello World” program.
  • Learning to do a home remodel? Watch some Youtube and try the paint out on an inconspicuous area.
  • Learning to market your product? Make a simple landing page that lets them buy, and make a simple ad campaign that points to it.

A Working Hypothesis Avoids Bottom-Up Thinking

Your working hypothesis means building a simple plan, that, if your assumptions are correct, should work. It’s not like they told you in school that you should “find out everything you can” about a topic. This is going only based on what you know right now.

No hours spent on research that takes you down rabbit holes and eventually has you watching funny youtube cat videos. Just a simple plan, based on what you know.

Top-Down Thinking Keeps You Grounded

It’s the same reason old people tell you to read old literature, like the Stoics and the Bible. It’s simple information that, if it makes sense to you, teaches you to think for yourself. If you can grasp fundamental truths, you can use those truths almost everywhere. They give you a sense of proportion that looks like wisdom and knowledge. And they help you to test every bit of information that comes in.

Bottom-Up Thinking Makes You A Slave

But if you immerse yourself in information, you’re overwhelmed. You start accepting facts before you’re able to evaluate them. It’s like in any cult — or in college if you’re not very, very careful — they give you one point of view, fill you with information that backs it up, giving you no context or sense of proportion. And pretty soon, you find yourself lost. And even though you know something’s wrong, you don’t have the words to express exactly what.

Think before you Research

Research isn’t bad. But be sure your brain is in critical-thinking mode before you start accepting data. This will keep you objective and allow you to see things in proportion.

It’s like in closely held political arguments; we get caught up in the emotion and the need to be right. We accept things we’d never believe if we weren’t so bought-in politically. But what if every American thought about right and wrong before they heard all of the opinions and framing? What if, when you heard that a politician did something wrong, you backed up and thought about it non-politically, like they’re someone in your everyday life who did that.

Now you’re thinking, rather than being told how to think.

Apply it To Marketing

So let’s say you’re making a marketing plan. Who’s the person in your life who would buy your product? If you didn’t know him, where would you advertise? Facebook, an online forum, a sponsorship? What would you say in the ad? What would make him click on the ad and go to your landing page? What would you say on the landing page to convince him to click and buy?

Now, you have a working hypothesis. Make sure you can test each part of that interaction, so you know at least the number of people reached by the ad, the number of people who clicked to visit the page, and the number of people who bought. And adjust from there.

Simplicity is Objectively Right

Trying to seem smart is a trap. The most effective people don’t pretend they know what they don’t know. They keep it simple and use what they know. Be like the simple person who knows what questions to ask rather than the one who knows all of the answers. Because the one who knows how to ask the right questions is the one who doesn’t work as hard and still gets more done, can see through BS, and can make a simple, actionable plan that moves things forward.

For an example of a funnel, check out Mike’s post on content marketing.

For more on the topic of simplicity, read or listen to “Solitude in Leadership” by William Deresiewicz.

Resound Newsletter

Get more industry-leading branding and marketing insights like this delivered to you monthly.

Our Book Is Here!

Unlock the power of authentic branding to become a better marketer and business owner.

Latest Posts

The Power of a Great Brand Metaphor

There’s any number of highbrow ways to kick this article off.  Where to start?  In going with a splendid example of a no-frills metaphor, I’m torn between:  William Shakespeare: “All the world’s a stage.”  Vincent Van Gogh: “Conscience is a man's compass” Dr. King:...

Tell a Better Brand Story by Embracing Your History

Unless you work in the candy industry, you probably didn’t know that M & M's only became a household name after selling their candy-coated chocolate exclusively to U.S. Servicemen in World War II. When the servicemen came back home, demand for those orange,...

The Importance of Location in Brand Story

Here’s our elevator pitch—Star Trek on a pirate ship.  Same cast. Same plotlines… but instead of the outer reaches of Deep Space Nine, everyone’s cruisin’ around the Caribbean.  Or suppose Star Wars took place on an elementary school playground. Or Jane Austin’s Pride...

Everything Managers Need to Know about Analytics in 4 Steps

We're taught to look at analytics wrong. We think we need to be able to drink from a firehose and still make confident decisions about what to do with the analytics we're shown. So how do you use your team to tame analytics and actually move the marketing needle? Know...

Using Brand Archetypes to Build a Consistent Personality

If you watch a popular movie or read a best-selling book with your brain turned off, you’ll probably get some déjà vu. Whether it’s following the hero’s journey, or some eerily familiar character—an unlikely wonder woman finding her stride, a wise-cracking sidekick,...

Brand Foundations Course

How to Unlock Your Remarkable Brand

Discover Your Brand Values, Brand Personality and Brand Story to get you and your team thinking about what your authentic brand is and how to manifest it.

Brand Webinars

Learn how to develop your brand’s foundation to get a competitive edge.

Unlock Your Remarkable Brand

Want to build unlock your remarkable brand and lasting relationships, but aren’t sure where to start? Set up a call and talk about it with Mike.

Your organization is remarkable – now start acting like it.

Our new book, You Are Remarkable, helps businesses and organizations unlock their authentic, genuine, real brand identities and express them effectively to their customers.