Focusing on the Critical Few to Be Truly Effective

There’s an unstated elegance about focusing on less in your marketing and PR. In fact, over time my most successful blogs, clients, and digital marketing programs were ones where we refined efforts over time to do more of less. We discovered what worked, found a formula, dialed it up and relentlessly removed the fluff.

This is counter intuitive to how most of the marketing and PR world functions. Most want to implement an ever-expanding mix of tactics over time. And while I’m not advocating you don’t experiment (experimenting within the framework of a strategy makes a lot of sense) it shows maturity of a marketer to say no to more tactics being proposed simply for the sake of doing them.

Critical few metrics

You don’t need to obsess over every metric. In fact, Avinash makes a compelling case for focusing on the critical few:

If your business was on the line how would you know things are going well or badly? Cutting through all the clutter of data, what are the metrics that are your Critical Few?

Almost all of us have too many things we measure, too many things that distract us, take away our precious time / attention.

You probably have at most three Critical Few metrics that define your existence. Do you know what they are? If you have 12 then you have too many.

Indeed, while having more KPIs is OK to have as a gauge, find your critical metrics and focus on them as priority.

Critical few platforms

Seth Godin doesn’t spend time in Twitter or Facebook. He actually doesn’t spend much time creating content with frequency anywhere other than his own blog and is focused 100% on opt-in at the source. By doing this his community does all the propagation across channels for him and he can focus on what he does best: writing and sharing ideas with us.

Seth has true leverage on the web (and in the world) by having a community that is platform agnostic. Far more than those who have multiple communities updated sporadically in other people’s platforms where there is no control over the signal to noise ratio.

Critical few words

Paul McHenry Roberts has a brilliant essay:  How To Say Nothing In 500 Words. The whole essay is worth reading and drives home the point of being succinct, but one of the points made highlights the elegance of less:

Instead of stuffing your sentences with straw, you must try steadily to get rid of the padding, to make your sentences lean and tough… You dig up more real content. Instead of taking a couple of obvious points off the surface of the topic and then circling warily around them for six paragraphs, you work in and explore, figure out the details. You illustrate.

As a writer and entrepreneur, I’ve been trying to refine my work for years to cut out superfluous layers and force myself to focus on the meat of the issue. It takes patience and self-control, but I find I’m much happier with the results.

More is common and expected. Less is rare and surprising.