Opinions

Marketing Strategy and A Carpenter’s Toolbox

Posted by Michael Sprouse on March 30th, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I’ve long believed that the best metaphor for truly great marketers should be that of a carpenter and a toolbox. The importance of thinking in this way is critical to overall marketing strategy and being a well-rounded successful marketer. So what does the metaphor mean?

A carpenter obviously carries around tools in his or her favorite toolbox. The toolbox is the most critical part of a carpenter’s job; it houses the tools to get a wide variety of jobs done and it is always with the carpenter, in fact it is very much a part of his or her life. A good carpenter has a wide array of tools in the toolbox. He or she has to have the knowledge of how to use each and every one of those tools depending on the function at hand. Each tool serves a completely different purpose, but for elaborate jobs a carpenter has to rely on several tools in order to complete the job. Sometimes, a job requires a few simple tools – perhaps to hang a picture, you need a hammer and a nail. Other times, a job like building a house requires the entire toolkit. But a good carpenter knows how to utilize each tool to its maximum effect no matter what the size of the job is.

Now put your marketing hat on. Today’s marketers should have a marketing toolbox. Think of what is in your toolbox. Is it comprehensive, or does it only have a few tools that you know how to utilize in it?

What makes up your toolbox is why it is such an exciting time to be a Chief Marketer. Never before has there been this many marketing tools at one’s disposal. In the biggest “compartment”, there are marketing platforms used to communicate your message; things like email, mobile, broadcast, radio, outdoor, tablets, events, mail, search, online display, social media, and many more. From that major compartment stems another one containing numerous micro-strategies like advertising, public relations, affiliate marketing, trade marketing, cause marketing, branding, direct response, product placement, rich media, incentives, and many more. There are also other compartments in a marketer’s toolbox which house different economic models at your disposal (CPA, CPC, CPM, social engagements, and more) and your task force (teammates or your group which also assist in getting the job done).

I have comprehensive list of tools in my toolbox, and hopefully you get my drift here. I’m always checking to make sure I’m not missing any tools. What tools you carry around as a Marketer either makes you a 360-degree marketer able to have an informed discussion with anyone in the world on a variety of topics, or something less. Being a marketer with one or a few tools could make you look like, well, a tool.

My advice: stock up on marketing tools, and make sure you know how to use them all independently and together as part of a comprehensive marketing plan. Take an inventory today and find out where there are potential holes, and either get assistance from someone or learn how to use them all yourself.

One Response to “Marketing Strategy and A Carpenter’s Toolbox”

  1. Pam Alvord says:

    Fun blog -- it reminds me of the old saying "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

    I think the most important line in your whole article is "Stock up on marketing tools, and make sure you know how to use them all independently and together as part of a comprehensive marketing plan." Tools can easily become one-off, ineffective tactics unless their use is driven by a well thought out strategy. It only takes 7 words to help define how to best use a well-stocked marketing tool box http://bit.ly/auLIBw

    --pam

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