Spoiler alert: There are no secrets. Consider for a moment the stock market (stay with me here). The New York Stock Exchange. Who’s on it? The biggest companies. The top 500 of those companies make up the S&P 500. We’re talking Microsoft. Exxon. Apple. McDonalds. Target. Coca-Cola. Home Depot. Companies you and I do business with, we walk by, we know the logos. Across all 500, some won’t do so great and others will turn out like Apple and do nothing but go straight up. These 500 biggest, brightest companies in America and the world represent the economy, and what I believe will happen with the economy over the next 5, 10, 20 years is it’ll go up…and it’ll go down. Then it’ll go up…and it’ll go down. That’s what the economy generally does and that’s why people invest in the stock market. One of my favorite financial experts says, “You don’t get hurt on a roller coaster unless you jump off.” A big diversified grouping of stocks means the strong ones carry you through the times when the not so great ones underperform. I don’t mess around with single stocks because I can’t predict what one single company is going to do. It’s too risky.
After nearly twenty years of studying and working with companies who are winning in brand recognition, market share, and customer loyalty, I’ve discovered a single common thread: their marketing strategy. It’s consistent and diversified just like investing. They do it month after month, year after year. They don’t start and stop based on emotion. They use a mix of strategies instead of pouring all their money into “what’s hot” or what their brother-in-law says is the next best thing. They measure the results and make tweaks as needed. Like smart investing, none of it is really anything that sexy. Nothing you could talk about on the golf course. It’s more like the tortoise than the hare: slow, steady, not impressive. But when you compare how much they’ve invested against their return, they’ve made a lot of money. Is it perfect? No. It goes up, and it goes down. Just keep going. Don’t stop. Be the tortoise. Every time I read the book, he wins.
It begs the question – do it yourself or enlist the help of a marketing partner? Try both and see what works best for you (for tips on choosing a digital agency, see our checklist here) If you go the route of working with a marketing partner, look for one who explains every detail to you in plain English until you understand it, no matter how long it takes. You should never be afraid or embarrassed to insist that you understand what’s going on with YOUR money. If something doesn’t feel right, keep looking. Meet with as many people as it takes to find someone you can trust to educate you on your options so you can make the choices that are right for your business. You want someone who’s smarter than you, but knows you’re still in charge.