I used to play squash for fun in high school.
It’s not nearly as difficult as it looks. And it’s way more fun than tennis.
The thing about squash is, if you’re running around the court chasing the ball, you’re not doing it right.
The better player is able to spend most of their time standing in the centre of the court. The weaker player person runs back and forth trying to stay in the game until they eventually lose the point.
It almost looks effortless to the victor. Surely harder work would reap better dividends, no?
It turns out, not so much.
It’s the same with marketing. Most of what we do simply doesn’t matter very much.
Roughly 20% of your efforts generate 80% of the results. But we often spend the majority of our time on the remaining 80% because it feels like the right thing to do.
We feel like we need to be busy to do our job well.
That’s where strategy comes in.
If you are doing your job right, you can focus your marketing efforts on relatively few key areas and do them extremely well. The rest becomes optional or unnecessary.
Good strategy makes the important activities obvious. Not just what to do but how you do it, too.
It also makes execution far less labour intensive—and most of it unnecessary.
The key is knowing what to do and what not to do. Strategy provides those guide rails.
If anyone is busy in an organization, it’s the marketing managers trying to do it all. It’s a tough job no matter how you measure it.
The most effective marketers spend their time sharpening their strategy and thereby make most of the tactical work they do optional or unnecessary.
After all, do CEOs want you to be busy or successful?