The Holy Grail of Marketing

Golden goblet

In the past, I’ve been more than a little outspoken about the potential impact of social media as a marketing and brand-building tool. And I’ve taken my fair share of abuse from traditional marketers who’ve accused me of being stupid, drunk, insane, or all of the above (love you guys!)—but I stood my ground.

Today, I’m here to tell you not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

First of all, babies don’t like that.

Second, while the value and impact of social media as a tool for connecting with current and prospective customers continues to gain momentum (and validation!), there’s still something to be said for taking a strategic, integrated approach to building and maintaining your brand.

The truth? Some tools are better than others. For some audiences. And some products. Sometimes.

And sometimes you won’t know which marketing program will get you the best result—until you’ve tried and either failed or succeeded.

Products change. Times change. People change. Technology changes. Your job? Keep on your toes and always, always be improving.

But Genius, do you still think traditional advertising is f**ked?

Yes. And no.

Yes, it’s under threat like never before.

No, it’s not going to go away completely. Rather, it will EVOLVE. So, get ready.

My point? There aint no silver bullets, people. If you’re looking for the Holy Grail of Marketing, stop. Social Media is awesome, but it’s not going to cure cancer. And it aint going to save you from recession-induced “downsizing” if you don’t know your marketing basics from your butt crack.

So let’s review. The Basics (Genius-Style):

  • Know your audience. Don’t assume, because we all know what happens when you ass-u-me. Actually get to know them. Social media is an excellent tool for that, by the way!
  • Set clear, measurable goals. “Generate more revenue” is not a measurable goal. Just sayin’.
  • Be strategic first; tactical second. If this statement makes no sense to you, go to and buy yourself a copy of Marketing for Dummies. Please.
  • Don’t think “marketing”; think “entertainment”. Think “value”. We’re over-saturated,  over-multi-tasked, and over-tired of being marketed to. The only chance in hell you stand of making an impact through marketing is by weaving real value into the marketing itself. Entertainment value, competitive value, social value, functional value, expressive value… any or all of the above will do.
  • Plan. Yes, plan! In writing! So other native-speakers can understand it! YAY!
  • Test. Live and breathe data. If it works—do it again. Do it bigger, better, faster. If it doesn’t—cut bait.
  • Never, ever, EVER sacrifice design. Don’t even get me started on this one.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just try not to make the same old ones.
  • Give people something to talk about. Often.

Don’t get me wrong: I love social media. I’d rather give up chocolate than Twitter. I can hardly restrain myself from getting on my soapbox when the question, “What the f**k is social media?” is asked.

At the same time, I don’t believe in “One Size Fits All” marketing. And as a Genius—and a female one at that—you KNOW I’m always right.

At least we agree on something. 😉

The next CEO to claim their product is for “everyone” should be shot

Has nobody but me heard the expression, “You can’t please everybody”????

My guess is that most CEOs, particularly those of VC-backed tech start-ups have the misguided notion that they’re GOD (notice there are an equal number of letters: G-O-D… C-E-O), and therefore can will their way into the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of every dumb-ass in America.

News Flash:
Even the Big Guys can’t please everybody.

So why would you think that a little embryo of a start-up, with a little embryo of a marketing budget (and staff) could succeed with the cast-a-wide-net approach?

Honestly, people: it’s Marketing 101. Choose a target audience! One that you could wrap your narcissistic little arms around.
One that you could actually DESCRIBE, beyond the boring, big demographic qualifiers.
One that you could pick out of a line-up.
One that you know exactly where to find (online and off).
One that needs and wants your product/service as desperately as Britney wants to be photographed without her knickers.

And then… once you’ve engendered their loyalty and ensured that you and this target audience are permanent BFFs, then [and only then!] begin to expand your net.

Think of it as a little series of concentric circles… a ripple that starts with one teeny stone as it hits the surface of calm waters.

NOT a fucking boulder that flops, splashes, and sinks to the bottom, never to be heard from again.