marketing ecosystems

Why Bad Stacks Happen to Good Marketers

A messy desk.  A messy drawer.  A messy relationship.

We give many excuses for why things aren't as neat as they should be. But for the most part, isn’t it really about how much we care about the desk, drawer, relationship?  And how much time we put into caring for them?  

I have this little flat box that sits next to our phone (forever ringing with an irrelevant sales pitch that we never pick up) in the kitchen. I looked at it this morning and thought - why is that box a mess?  It's full of random items in varying stages of usefulness - muscle clay to strengthen your grip for rock-climbing; batteries whose life expectancies are secrets; super glue that might be viable underneath its dried up hole; spent checkbooks…etc. These things were all necessary at one point or another.  But now they are just sitting there screaming to be put to use, or put away, or put out to pasture.

I'm reminded that, even though I never pay much attention to this little box, it continues to evolve and take on a life of its own. 

I started to feel a bit like many marketers I've been speaking to. There's a love / hate thing going on with their ecosystems. Over time, they find themselves with a mix of indispensable, necessary, irrelevant and obsolete resources. Kind of like my messy box. It's full of things that made sense in the moment. But, now, it feels like something that's happened to me - not something I made happen.

Why? It seems like we're building our marketing stacks like a tactical arms race. As every new capability emerges, we deploy a new resource against it. On the plus side, it means we achieve "full chunnel" (every channel covered across the funnel). The downside is that your ecosystem becomes generic - it has little to do with how your specific brand adds value to your specific business in your specific category. 

It's time to take a more strategic view. A view that allows you to see the relative importance of each resource. To see how they collectively create value. To see how you can reduce some to bolster others. To see where time, money, technology and effort can be best spent. 

Maybe the question is: "is it riskier to continue as is or take a new approach"?

I guess it depends on whether or not you see your ecosystem as a tactical or strategic brand resource. 

What’s in your box and do you really like what you see?