10 April 2024

A Case for the “Meat and Potatoes” Marketing Strategy

This article on our approach to creating a simple yet effective marketing strategy originally appeared on Forbes.com as one of Christine Pilkington’s contributions as a member of Forbes Business Council. You can find the original article linked at the bottom of the piece. 

Marketing is an incredibly “noisy” field. It encompasses a wide range of approaches and specializations, all with their own opinions on the matter of what constitutes “good marketing.” Marketing also takes dedicated and consistent effort to pay off over time. (I know what you’re thinking: “What about going viral?” That usually doesn’t come out of nowhere, and it takes a savvy marketer to capitalize on it in the right way.)

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, the “noise” and time investment can be overwhelming and make it difficult to assess what really matters and works—especially for those without a marketing background. In my role as a Fractional CMO, I’ve had numerous conversations with business leaders along the lines of, “I don’t know where to start,” “We’ve tried hiring a marketing agency before and didn’t see meaningful results,” and “I’m not sure what’s really moving the needle when it comes to my business.”

Enter: the “meat and potatoes” approach to marketing.

What is a “Meat and Potatoes” marketing strategy?

Although it’s understandably tempting to go deep on certain aspects of marketing (paid ads, metrics and analytics, or highly original creative assets), it’s important to make sure you have the basics right first, especially when cooking up a marketing program from scratch.

Those basics include things like business-oriented goals, efficient processes, and foundational strategy documents. In tandem, these three things can efficiently channel marketers’ efforts into replicable and consistent results. This is what I’ve come to refer to as the “meat and potatoes” of marketing.

If you cook for yourself or others day in and day out, you might know what I mean here. There’s no shame in favoring—in fact, I’ll go so far as to recommending—the type of practical, sturdy meal that delivers every time, rather than a specialty recipe that may not turn out in the end.

If you’re pressed for time and struggling to get dinner on the table, it’s best to stick with what you know is going to work. While it might be tempting to buy a whole new cookbook that claims to “revolutionize your approach to dinner,” chances are, it will recommend that you replace your pantry staples, or even invest in new equipment. While these aren’t bad things, they don’t always meet you where you’re at or help you build to a point where you can reliably and consistently execute good results.

And, before I continue: no, I’m not making a case against creativity or innovation, and I’m certainly not dismissing marketing specialization. But more businesses should focus on making sure they’ve got the essentials right before trying to serve up anything more complicated.

Why Simple Is Strategic When It Comes To Marketing

Have you ever wondered why phone numbers are the length they are? Studies have shown that the average brain can memorize up to around seven digits without any trouble. Beyond that, things can get a bit fuzzy. Likewise, the “noisy” field of marketing— business, for that matter—is rife with information overload, and your brain can only handle so much.

Keeping it simple not only provides much-needed clarity, cutting out unnecessary, inefficient or irrelevant tasks or details, it also allows you to focus on quality over quantity. With the right pieces in place, a “meat and potatoes” approach can lay a strong foundation for a growing business’s marketing program. Here are some benefits of working in this pragmatic mindset:

It ensures that marketing is plugged into the bigger picture of your business.

If you really want marketing to move the needle for your business (who doesn’t?), the real recipe for success is to create a strategy for your marketing based on goals that connect to the overall vision for the company.

It helps you delegate better.

Many business leaders find that marketing is the one thing they can’t get off their plate. As a result, they may look to a contractor or agency for assistance in hopes of offloading this time and resource-intensive undertaking. However, someone still needs to direct, review and vet the work they are doing and this often falls right back onto the CEO’s plate.

It saves you time and money.

Getting things right the first time can be worth its weight in gold—sometimes literally. Executing well on the basics, rather than being tempted by a slick proposal that doesn’t end up delivering, is often a better use of time, resources and budget.

It makes you more self-sufficient in the long run.

Non-marketers may look to outside help to spin up or supplement their marketing program—which can, of course, be a great idea. However, it’s not within the scope (or incentive) of many agencies or contractors to provide insight into the ins and outs of what they’re doing and why. Without that knowledge, it’s easy to become overly reliant on an external party that you may not have the budget for in perpetuity.

It cuts through the noise.

Keeping things simple, realistic and replicable can help you understand what’s working and why. I’ve served up simple yet solid strategies for many clients that have fueled their business goals. Although some agencies and specialists may argue otherwise, you don’t need to overcomplicate your marketing program.

Craving a “meat and potatoes” approach to marketing for your business? Go ahead—dig in.

This article was originally published here.

Book a free consult with us today to talk about how our “meat and potatoes” approach can help your business create a simple marketing strategy that delivers results.