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Who begins too much accomplishes little.

By July 30, 2010January 21st, 20225 Comments

I love this German proverb. This is the board next to my workspace, and I carry a copy of it in my wallet, too.

I’m not sure why, but it’s seems to always be true: Marketing departments aren’t doing enough or they are trying to do WAY too much. The former is easy to tackle so let’s talk about the latter.

Initiatives, ads, events, trade shows, blogs, websites, landing pages, direct mail campaigns, Facebook Fan pages. Whatever it is, things are tackled with full energy, then abandoned. Or started and left unfinished. There’s so much going on, there’s no time to actually measure what’s working and what isn’t.

While we do a lot things for our clients, our goal is always to help them do a few things, really well.

Bill Gates once said,

…only through focus can you do world-class things, no matter how capable you are.

Consider your current marketing efforts. Where are you investing your energy? Your money? How much time are you spending doing things just because it’s what you’ve always done?

Does it matter to your customers? Your prospects? Is it a brand driver? Are you sure?

Do the research, then focus your efforts in the few, best places that will make a difference. You’ll be glad you did.

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • great reminder, and very true.

  • Patrick I completely agree. My motto is: It’s almost always better to get 3 A’s and 4 Incompletes than 7 C’s. Great post.

  • “Marketing departments are doing way too much.”
    This is so true and I am one of the people from this department. At the end of each year, we do planning for the upcoming year. The marketing plan should include all all the activities/initiatives for the rest of the year. I’m sure this is the practice in almost every company. This is helpful as the company gets to map out its activities and align their budget. But what usually happens is some of the components in the plan that was pre-approved by the boss seem irrelevant when the actual implementation comes. Why? Because a lot of things can happen during the process. The trend changes rapidly. My suggestion is that the marketing group should review the plan for the year quarterly just to make sure that everything in it is still feasible and could actually help get customers. This way, the company can focus and get more productive results.

    Allow me to share with you a good read on Basic Internet Marketing.
    Though learning is a process, you sometimes really have to go back to the basics.

  • Clint Till says:

    Every so often I run into this kind of thing when discussing an upcoming video project with a client. During some initial creative meetings, the client will talk about all the things they want to cover in the video. The list can be pretty extensive. Then, after our discussion, they ask if all of that info can be put into a 3 minute video. I always encourage clients to brainstorm as much information as possible during the early stages, but then remind them (as you have said here), that the most important thing is focus. Take those ideas and whittle them down to a singular message that encapsulates what the company is trying to communicate. I can fit that kind of focused, centralized story into a :30 spot or a 3 minute video.


  • Patrick

    This is a great thing to think about when you’re about to start anything, especially a major new project. Doing too much will spread your energy too thin, and lead to the fatigue and burn-out that will lead to procrastination. I read this post a while back and it always stays in my mind as a reminder to stay focused. Great little editorial 😉

    Thank you


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