Finding Balance

We’ve written before about the many tensions and debates in our industry. And the risks of falling into polarized thinking. And, ultimately, the importance of finding a balanced middle path. But what, exactly, does this middle path look like? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • Let’s start with a level set from Martin Weigel, who has helpfully summed up (most of) the great marketing debates of our time in a single tweet-able image.

  • To round out the list, here are a few more from Rosie and Faris at Genius Steals.

  • The list is getting long, but it’s still not complete. Don’t forget about efficiency vs. effectiveness. Or art vs. science.
  • Debate is healthy. But unresolved tensions create problems. They lead to confusion and fragmentation in both theory and practice. They get in the way of good work and sound, rational decisions. So what about solutions?
  • For those trying to balance efficiency and effectiveness, BBH’s Will Lion has some suggestions. Our fave: consider new metrics that foster balance. For example, Long Effectiveness Potential—the ratio of marketing budgets pointed at long-term growth versus short-term stimulation and optimization.
  • Kevin Joyner also proposes a few rules of thumb for these fractured times: be useful and generous, use data—but focus on first party. And plan everything at once—product, acquisition, customer service and CRM. Because, you know, it’s all part of the same experience from a customer’s point-of-view.
  • Scott Donaton also proposes a customer-centric orientation as the best way forward in today’s polarized landscape: “Customers sense fragmentation. Anticipation, orchestration, and integration are the new marks of quality.”
  • Our take: to find your balanced path, start by following Joyner and Donaton’s customer-centric advice. Argumentative marketing pundits might steer you wrong, but your customers never will. And hey … it seems to be working for the world’s richest man.

Issue #61
Jan 27, 2019

Further Reading