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Marketing Discipline

Marketing. It’s a funny old game.

Some people value it but don’t invest enough time or money; some throw a tonne of money at the wall to see what hits.

Some see it as something to palm off on the office junior; some simply don’t bother.

Some companies though hit the sweet spot. They get buy-in (from top-to-bottom) and send out messages that are sustainable to build on. They collect data and work it; they speak to customers and suppliers above and beyond chasing elusive new customers; they build trust, and people start talking about them.


Part of the problem is complication. Marketing is hard and expensive right? Nope, it simply needs to work for your business. It needs to work around you. So why not make it simple?

Ignore the fact that some of your competitors or peers may seemingly be posting ten times the amount you do. Ignore it when people start bragging about how much traffic their website gets. It don’t mean a thing, if it doesn’t make the till ring.

What matters is creating a regular conversation between you, and, at the very least, your customers. 


You know which type of your customers work for your business: Ones that are happy and feel that they get value, ones that are profitable for you. Why not just focus on getting some more of the same? Why not focus your efforts on getting to know more about your best customers, so you know what to talk about?

  • Remember the Pareto Principle – 80% will from come from 20%.
  • Listen – What are your BEST customers asking for, and how are they asking for it? Your job is to address those issues and build your products and services around them. Sell them what they want, give them what they need.
  • Ask – Work your network to understand their needs and work your network to spread the word. It will make your proposition much more understandable to the people who matter.

Stop Wasting Your Efforts

This pie chart is taken from The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib. A great little book for straight-talking SME marketing.

It’s quite enlightening in demonstrating what a waste of time data can be if you get sucked in. You could be focusing up to 97% of your marketing and sales budget right now on people not wanting to buy. You could also be diluting any marketing messages by trying to appeal to ‘everyone’.

Even based on this chart, 60% of people are not interested, so why not simply focus 100% on the other 40%?

marketing focus pie chart

Fish where the fish are

Marketing should not be a pissing competition between marketers. Don’t market your business based on your market; go to where your customers are.


From there on in, just stay disciplined and don’t lose focus of the end-game.

I always tell my clients to imagine marketing to their existing customers and no-one else, creating more value to build a stronger relationship. In terms of sales and marketing, this is the lowest hanging fruit.

  • Commit to quality marketing – not quantity.
  • Focus on creating more value for your existing customers.
  • Your CRM is your best friend. Use it like your life depends on it.
  • Talk to your existing customers regularly. That could be once a week, or once a month – it’s the quality that counts. If in doubt, create five great ideas a month/quarter, and throw away the worst four.


  • Too many companies waste too much time, effort and money on marketing to too many people.
  • Not everyone will need/want what you have. Not everyone will like you.
  • Focus, combined with discipline, will make your marketing more enjoyable, more relevant and much more successful.