Why Algorithmic Focused Smart Growth Hackers Kill Businesses

Smart data driven people kill more businesses than anything or anyone else. They live in and are accustomed to “reading the tea” leaves and making decisions predicated upon history and data.

Twitter and the internet are littered with blog posts about how boil the ocean data made all the difference in building a billion dollar business. It’s not that easy.

If it were, Yahoo’s valuation would be much different today as a result of 2-3 turnaround efforts via multiple smart execs and more importantly, the .com crash would have never occurred.

As a business owner, your greatest challenge is seeing around corners. Requiring a blended marketing strategy mixing creativity, tech and pattern recognition via ongoing analysis.

How to Bulk Up Your Marketing Strategy: Win Friends, Influence People and Find Customers

We worship at the trough of success too much. LinkedIn’s algorithmic Pulse is littered with an infinite number of posts rhapsodizing about the greatness of Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Guy Kawasaki, Marc Cuban, Churchill, Tolstoy, pick your flavor of the month and how if we just copy a page out of their playbook your exit strategy will enable a yacht purchase on par with Tom Perkin’s “The Maltese Falcon.”

Much of it is bunk. Listen to customers, hire people that have fallen on their asses once in a while, inculcate technology with your marketing activities and be creative. Can marketing “sages” help  you? Yes, but there are no easy answers. As below, it’s about discerning patterns across your business operations and savvy outbound marketing.

Success does not always build character, failure does. Hire or outsource people who’ve had a measure taken of their character.

It’s about the runway, it’s not just about the world’s next and greatest product. I dashed the hopes of a CEO who was ready to hire me to do a lot of strategic and tactical marketing by shutting down his dreams of making a fortune outsourcing products from China. We live in an age when price it not the competitive advantage “end all” Michael Porter has been advocating for years.

Do you want to price your products with implicit value and competitive awareness? Yes. But, too many smart CEOs value a product strategy and don’t think holistically about the mundane elements that drive success: web presence, social channel selection and optimization, a technical marketing stack, the importance of creating great, engaging content.

Emotional brand value differentiates you business from others, it’s not just about analytics and science, creativity drives impact with consumers.

Why this Video Stands Out from the Herd and Makes an Impact with 1.7M+ Visitors

  • The authentic voice over starts out talking about “greatness” and it pulls you in.
  • The imagery in the video is not a super model or superstar. It’s a young boy fighting to keep his weight under control. It’s a real image that resonates with the viewer. Not a Kardashian.
  • The road and landscape around it are reflect a less is more approach with the visuals.
  • At under one minute, the video is compelling enough to get your attention but not long and boring.
  • Brand placement for Nike at the end is minimal and doesn’t get in the way of the story being told via the video.
  • Nike recognizes the power of the imagery: there is no obtrusive text embedded in the video

Meaningful data and patterns take time and Google analytics is not a panacea. All marketers and agencies love data, as do smart execs. But, truth be told, billions have been made by agencies and consultants based telling clients how “pattern science” will build brand and five easy steps or less. That’s not always the case.

Surveys with multiple touch-points filled out by your customers, savvy community management done by a professional who knows how to move the information up the food chain (not an intern) and even on site visits, with lunch and dinner discussions may garner more insight than any data geek can ever devise. Wine and spreadsheets make for interesting bedfellows.

We all love data too much and the immediacy it brings to help us make decisions. But, patterns take time, especially those measuring the intricacies of why fickle consumers buy things. How much time? In some cases 6-9 months to get a meaningful measurement of why fickle consumers are buying a product or service. And, even then, the patterns can be misleading.

In the age of an unending endless array of bright shiny things know that revenue opportunities are on par with barriers to entry. Growth is everywhere in almost every market; but barriers to entry are high, advertising rates for most platform are increasing and technology is baked into every marketing discipline, as never before.

Growth Drivers For Today’s Smartphone Drenched World

  • Pay attention to your “boring” infrastructure: domain name setup, hosting, server, email, marketing platforms, forms, apps, social platforms. These are critical assets and drive competitive advantage.
  • Organize your Content Marketing and Team with an Editorial Calendar (download and go link).
  • Go through a formal Customer Review Persona Analysis and know this is not a one time exercise (do a quarterly sanity check review) and the data has to reflect more than just baseline demographics.
  • Create and Curate high value Visual Content to reach today’s distracted consumers.
  • Most small businesses have insufficient raw data to make good marketing decisions. A/B testing, landing pages and analytics are all part of the equation. But, it takes transaction volumes to make really informed decisions.
  • Be prepared to make “on the fly” decisions about marketing strategy and tactics.
  • Publishing content has a tradeoff. Higher authority web sites will kill your SEO results if you are using the exact same content. It’s a tough tradeoff.
  • Know distraction rules and smart small businesses have to target their marketing as never before to get heard.
  • Invest 75% of your marketing expenditures with digital assets where you have “command and control” - web site, video and textual content, images, infographics.
  • Technology is baked into every aspect of marketing and there is no way around it: 67% of marketing departments plan to increase their spending on tech related marketing (platforms, processes and measurement) and 61% are increasing capital expenditures on technology related offerings. Embrace technology, train your staff to deal with a shifting landscape of platforms and processes and get help via outsourcing to backfill where you have holes.

    Stuck in the middle brands like Target and the defunct Radio Shack are the poster “children” bad brand positioning. Target may have lost important mojo by outsourcing it’s ecommerce sales to Amazon and Radio Shack lost it’s way with a “DIY” brand in a disposable world where nothing gets fixed and everything is tossed out like yesterday’s designer duds. Establish a defensible beachhead and claim a customer. Middle of the road brands become just that, road kill.

    The Internet of Things is not here yet but it’s out there on the horizon. But, many of you are better off focusing on near term success drivers: picking the right platforms, creating a meaningful sales funnel, leaning how to create and syndicate “smart” content and savvy community management. The “IoT” will have its moment in the sun soon enough.

    Today’s algorithmic focused, growth hacking CEOs are being minted faster than the rise in San Francisco real estate.

    It’s a Darwinian battle for supremacy out there brands and smart execs know it takes more than just reading the tea leaves. #goforth