“... it is the greatest of all mistakes to begin life with the expectation that it is going to be easy, or with the wish to have it so.”
― Lucy Larcom, A New England Girlhood
I read this quote and while on Twitter this morning started thinking about all the articles in my feed centered around reasons, tips and benefits… “3 Reasons why…”, “5 tips for…”, “10 Benefits to…”. Why are these articles so popular? People want step-by-step, easy instructions for fast results. More specifically with marketing, they want easy, DIY marketing for free and many of these articles give that very impression...just do this or do that and see results fast and, in turn, diminishing the value of marketing strategy and put marketing in a simple tactical box.
So, I guess the other question is…why do marketers continue to push out articles like this in an already saturated field? My answer? Because it sells and it is easy. Marketers are catering to people who want quick results using 1-2-3 tactical solutions, not strategic solutions. By offering tactics for “quick” results, as marketing experts, we hope to quickly make ourselves look like better experts among the sea of experts in hopes for quick revenue and quick recognitions. I am guilty of this. Last year, I wrote an article on user experience centered around “reasons” to try to establish myself as an expert. The problem is…These articles rarely have little strategic depth and are quickly forgotten. No impact is being made and the time invested has little ROI.
What I've realized is that in trying to be different by offering 3 “new” tactical reasons, tips or benefits to compete with all the other “experts”, we, in fact, are no different. We’re just contributing to the clutter of non-strategic marketing madness and our article is not remembered, so we right another for another gasp of recognition, then write another and so on. By continuing in this pattern, we are doing professional marketing a disservice by making it look cheap and easy, and, in turn, drowning in the sea of experts.
The truth is…marketing is not easy. It is difficult. It is strategic. It is an art, and it is always evolving. We should treat it this way and lead with this mindset by setting the expectation in all that we do whether it is writing or engaging with a customer. It is then we will manage to stay above water and make a difference.