What is your favorite marketing technique

We'll Call Your Bluff: 5 Digital Marketing Says You Must Stop Now

Good marketers are hungry for knowledge and always eager to improve their craft so that they can win for their customers / brands / themselves.

We all start with the basics and no one should ever feel bad without knowing tactics. I enjoy learning something new and empowering another marketer when I can.

That is, when someone "fakes" their skills, they are inviting to ruin and mock themselves (and often drag the brands they serve with them).

I asked some of my favorite prospects about their favorite marketing.

Your answers became a really useful reality check of which tactics are still relevant and which ones need to be withdrawn.

1. Reliance heavily on data with no strategy / action elements

This tell was found in all disciplines (SEO, PPC, and Social), but how it manifests itself varied depending on the practitioner.

In search engine optimization, experts stated that they could not explain the "story" in data.

In PPC, talking about "vanity metrics" about profit is a big deal:

Data is a critical part of digital marketing.

However, data can turn to noise the moment there is no guiding strategy / perspective to channel it.

What sets a true expert apart from the bluffer is the ability to turn data into actionable insights.

When it comes to customers, sticking to hard metric results can also be a challenge. On rare occasions, a practitioner can predict an accurate outcome and this should be a red flag for any brand that an agency / employee reviews.

Much more important is getting a percentage growth and explaining why.

If there is no context about why the profits were made, successful campaigns can lose budget because they are not properly allocated.

2. Overcompensation in a single discipline instead of having a holistic view

Both PPC and SEO have long been more than havens for one-trick ponies. The rise of integrated marketers enables us all to push new frontiers instead of staying where we are comfortable.

Brands today are looking for versatile practitioners who can balance channel strategy with flawless execution.

While marketers may be tempted to specialize in a single discipline / tactic, they risk becoming a dozen practitioners instead of a valued strategist.

Here are some of the SEO experts on one-off tactics that are considered a "one-trick":

PPC doesn't really have "one-trick" practitioners, but we do have practitioners who use a channel as a coupling.

  • I'm just doing the search.
  • I only do facebook.
  • Ignore internationally.

On the other hand, pretending to know everything about everything is a big deal for many.

It is difficult to find the balance between securing your future career through integrated marketing and alienating colleagues through ego-oriented claims.

When you are able to maintain a brand perspective, colleagues, prospects, and brands associate you with strategic tasks rather than tasks that they can delegate to interns / automation.

For example, my personal PPC perspective includes:

  • Invest aggressively early on because I want a quick campaign ramp up and data to support all creative and targeted decisions.
  • I am a pragmatist at heart and will never run an unbranded search campaign if it doesn't get at least 10 clicks per day.
  • Blitzing via Social / Video / Display to create a proprietary list to search for to close the deal.

When you come up with your perspective, you no longer rely on certain channels as a crutch and can test new and exciting platforms (TikTok, Quora, Waze, etc.).

3. Claim to be an expert instead of proving it with successful campaigns

There are more lists of "Top ___ to follow after ___" than I want to mention. While I proudly hold my spot as the Top 25 PPC Influential Expert, it is undeniable that there are many practitioners who are as talented (if not more) as I am.

The difference: I speak on a stage so that my perspective is taken more seriously.

What many fail to realize is that the SEO / PPC personalities who share insights on a stage don't always do the job themselves.

The best influencer experts are the ones who create records and uncover trends based on their work - as I would like to say, "keep your teeth".

While it doesn't hurt just being a brand ambassador, if you pose as an expert without doing the job yourself, you lose credibility with colleagues / the industry.

For example "experts" who notoriously use ghostwriters:

Main reason: Understand that there is a difference in technical and strategic skills between influencer marketing and technical PPC / SEO. If you want to showcase your team's work, indicate that it came from your exceptionally smart team.

If you are a practitioner and have a unique perspective, sit back and host conferences / awards! The only difference between those on stage and those in the audience is the pitch.

4. Do everything in the standard setting

Default settings are safe "average" gateways to get campaigns off the ground, but they are rarely long-term winners.

In paid campaigns this can mean:

  • Last click assignment.
  • All in all.
  • Targeting the entire domestic country (influenced by the settings made when the account was set up for the first time).

There are no real default settings in search engine optimization, but there are data points / tools without context:

  • Rank 1 for low value SERPs.
  • Increase the number of sessions without considering the time on site or the bounce rate.
  • Rely only on content without technical support.

The problem with the default settings is that they don't take into account human intelligence or business acumen.

While some performance gains can be achieved with these settings, they are inevitable.

It is important to note that there is no “right” answer on how to keep accounts, and any practitioner who tries to claim to have all the answers is absolutely bluffing.

5. Blindly accepting a tactic without judging its viability because an "expert" said it

Experts, gurus, ninjas, and any other type of "skilled" voice can be very tempting.

In theory, they know what they're saying / doing and citing their work / following their example should be a surefire way to improve their marketing skills.

Not all experts are created equal.

Some will intentionally share an old trick just to see if you know you need to challenge it:

There is no “single source of the truth” about how accounts are kept and what makes a successful strategy.

It is important to test all ideas and allow exceptions to rules.

Sticking to the same strategies learned 10 years ago just doesn't work in this fast-paced industry.

While Goode's tactic relies a little heavily on calamity, the core is solid: the autopilot strategy prepares you to be replaced by a machine.

If a tactic doesn't work, challenge it (politely).

My favorite moments at conferences are clever questions and answers, where we can delve into the specific applications of a strategy.

Others, while brilliant, have given up some of their technical teeth because they have finally evolved into strategic forces:

True hybrid strategists / technicians are rare.

The “average” expert is a technician who became a strategist because he has reached a point in his career where it is more cost effective to delegate the work to his team.

Sometimes strategies that work for most brands don't make mechanical sense to you.

Experts who have delegated their technical skills are a good source of ideas, not necessarily verbatim rules.

When evaluating implementation strategies, think critically and pragmatically about whether a takeover makes sense.

Last takeaways

While the subtleties of these tells differ when we talk about SEO, influencer marketing, or PPC, the core topics stay the same:

  • Data is an incredibly useful tool, but only as powerful as the story that drives it.
  • Defaults and one-trick ponies are excuses as beginners, but as you grow in this industry clients / colleagues expect you to evolve beyond them.
  • Industry speakers / bloggers have the benefit of perception - if a proposed strategy doesn't quite fit your needs, you won't feel pressured to adopt it.

More resources:

  • 10 reasons you can't be afraid to experiment with your content and fail
  • 4 Things Nobody Tells You When Starting Your Own Marketing Business
  • Why Content 'Tactics' Fail and How They Get Relevant

Photo credit

All screenshots by the author, November 2019