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The Elusiveness of Marketing Success – Part 1



Why is digital marketing success so elusive?

When you look at all the resources we have around us, all the thousands of “how to” and “7 easy steps” and the many “complete guides”, we should all be amazing marketers by now. All we need to do is follow these cleverly devised steps and “Kaboom” success! But it doesn't work like that.

Do a search on “how to market your business” and you get a lot of talk about what channels to use: blogs, social media, e-mail, press releases, etc. There is also a lot of talk about how to be more effective on each of those channels – how to market yourself on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.

So after you've sorted out your message, drawn up your content calendar, defined your buyer personas, created your hot content and put in place all the tracking tools; you start following the step-by-step guides, upload your content and wait for the flood of likes, retweets, shares, comments and leads … which doesn't materialise.

Why isn't it working? Is it the brand message, the copy, the channels, the timing, your content, your call to action, or something you just don’t get? Maybe you need to give it time – after all, if you build it they will come, right?

What lies beneath?

Sometimes you need to dig just one layer deeper to discover the true nature of something. So let’s have a look at what lies beneath all these amazing channels and marketing tips.

There are two critical factors that make a marketing drive work: connections and compulsion. Connections affect the number of people that actually see your message and compulsion is what makes them take some form of action – like, re-tweet, share, comment or call you.


When you share or promote your marketing content online it is like walking into a room full of people, setting up a small exhibition stand and making an announcement. The number of people that see and hear your message depends on some key factors:

  • The number of people that visit your specific room. Facebook might have over a billion users but they are like the building in which you have a room – not everyone in the building will necessarily visit your room. A small room with a couple of visitors is not going to get the same level of instant exposure as a conference room filled with people.

  • How popular are the rooms of each person visiting your room. If the owner of a room filled with thousands of people visits your room, likes what he sees and then shares it with those in his room, then that’s going to give you a lot of exposure. It might encourage some of them to give you a visit as well and likewise share your message to the people in their rooms.

  • What is the lifetime of your message? People won’t always visit your room, instead viewing your messages from within their own room via a remote link. They might be connected to hundreds of other rooms in this way, so your message might be on their screen for just a short period of time. The average Twitter message lasts for about an hour and a Facebook message three hours.

So, what can you take away from this?

One of the reasons why your marketing success is elusive at the moment might be because you’re operating in a tiny room with not that many people in it. Those people that are in there might have tiny rooms of their own and if they are viewing hundreds of rooms via remote link they might simply miss that moment your message appears on their screen.

It is clear that to have marketing success, you need a big room filled with people that have big rooms that are filled with even more people. That is why marketing for start-ups and small businesses is a lot more difficult than marketing for big, established organisations.

The question is this: how do you grow your room to be filled with thousands of regular visitors? The answer is to create an irresistible compulsion to visit your room and share your message.

If you've heard of the six degrees of separation theory you will know that everyone and everything is just six or fewer steps away by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. That means you are just six rooms away from someone with a place filled with thousands of loyal visitors. How do you get that person to visit your room and share your message? If you can manage that you don’t need to have a thousand plus visitors already signed up to your room. You just need the few visitors you do have to share your irresistible message with the few they have and six steps or less along that chain you’ll hit the big time.

To find our how to create Compulsion visit Part 2 of this blog: Compulsion.

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