You know the expression: “All roads lead to Rome.” There are lots of ways to get to the same place.
Sure, we’ll argue about which way is best, fastest, most interesting. But honestly, if you’ve got the time or money to take any road, pretty much any one would do.
This applies to a lot of areas of life. The best path, usually, is simply the one you’ll stick with.
And it applies to marketing. There are a lot of ways to do marketing, and an awful lot of them will work.
Occasionally, very slowly. Occasionally, very expensively. Often, both. But honestly, as long as you just stick to a road, you’ll probably get there eventually.
Some roads you’ll see advertised or promoted on social media don’t actually exist, or are prohibitively expensive or time-consuming to ever actually take.
Some used to go to the right place, but road technology changed and they had to tear up a few of the old roads to make room for new ones.
Some experts will advocate for dangerous shortcuts, and some will promote patience and a pleasant ride.
But here’s the thing about roads, and marketing: It’s not that “all” roads get you there.
It’s that any road will. But you’ve got to pick one.
In driving and in marketing, trying to pursue every option at once only ends up taking you in circles.
Your marketing “car” will run out of juice before you get anywhere.
The people in it with you will get so bored and annoyed they’ll start trying to bail out at intersections.
And you’ll have nothing to show for any of it by the end except for having rearranged some traffic.
And I’d swear that most marketing departments, business owners, and consultants really love that queasy dizzy feeling, because it’s circles all the way down.
They’ll devote a few days of their focus and time to launching a new marketing newsletter. But a few weeks later, it’s just somebody’s task to hastily assemble and shove online.
They’ll dump a couple thousand dollars into a social media campaign that produces impressive impressions, but only a handful of people will click through to the website and most of the people who Liked the posts worked for them anyway.
They’ll go hard into video for six months, but never get around to updating them or doing another shoot. So they sit on a shared drive somewhere, rotting in a way that only out-of-date marketing assets can.
The marketing car is spinning its wheels, everyone’s getting cranky, and you’re not actually going anywhere.
Because the only wrong way to go is no way at all.
Look, you get to go back and take a different road later. You get to change course and switch to a different road. You’re not locked into any one path forever.
But you’ve got to give the path you choose time to work. And you’ve got to give it the attention, the resources, and the enthusiasm it needs to actually pay off.
If you’re going to focus on video, focus on video. Get the most out of it, and use your other marketing channels to support your video strategy.
If you’re going to launch a podcast, figure out how you can make your podcast support or be supported by the other activities in your business or marketing.
If you’re going to make SEO a priority, figure out how your everyday marketing tactics can improve your SEO efforts, instead of your SEO efforts (and money, and time) going toward fixing what the rest of your marketing broke.
Does this mean that you can only do one marketing tactic at once?
No, but those tactics do need to reinforce one another, they do need to support one another, and they do need to amplify one another.
Not a single tactic—but a single direction. A single road with branching paths, unique sights along the way, and a motivating pace.
So how do you choose? Well, the bad news is that there are lot of different ways to make that decision, too. But here’s one way:
After you’ve established your marketing position and you know the ideal customer you’re focusing on (your ultimate destination), make a list of where those ideal customers are when they realize they have a problem you can solve, and a list of where they go to get more information, recommendations, or reviews (the available roads).
This will help you figure out a marketing strategy that aligns with your position and will help you efficiently reinforce it at your ideal customer’s moment of greatest need, when they’re most likely to be interested.
But you’ll need to focus down even deeper from here, because you won’t have the resources to do everything that might work—certainly not all at once, but for some, not even individually. Some things are just too expensive, too difficult, or too time-consuming to tackle.
So, next, look at your list and think about what you actually enjoy doing, or you think you would enjoy if you could do it.
Think about what you could sustain for the long-term. What you can afford to keep up for many months, if you had to, before it started to pay you back.
And think about what you have the time and energy to work on every single day.
Because marketing isn’t something you do once a quarter, or once and never again.
It’s something you do every single day, in every decision you make.
Don’t worry about the roads everyone else is taking. They’re just following the leader, following the “best” practices, whether they have the resources, patience, people, or the vehicle to support them.
Focus on your journey, and how you’re going to get there.
Because all roads don’t lead to Rome.
But almost any of them will. You’ve just got to choose the one that’s right for you.
If you’d like to talk about how to identify the right marketing road for your business, whether you need to build a new car or fix a flat in the one you’re stuck in, reach out anytime.
There's no wrong way to go, as long as you're going somewhere.