Ad-Tech, Or Mar-Tech, Like Technical SEO, Gets You 20% Of The Way To Wins

80% of the win, or a factor 4x as critical, is product quality, and people discovering and loving your website and the content on it. No technology will help with any of these. 

The fundamental assumption at work when marketers focus too much on technology is wrong, a few times over. Marketers assume: 

  1. They can get traffic (outsmarting Google) through technology;
  2. That they can grow sales (outsmarting buyers) through technology;
  3. That they can noticeably improve revenue by optimizing their funnel;
  4. That they can control the Buyer Journey, or control people at scale; 
  5. That they can receive more without giving more;
  6. That any of these optimizations would result in revenue increases on par with those achieved through a better product, a better site, and providing more helpful content for people to discover during their Buyer’s Journey (becoming thought leaders).

All these assumptions are wrong. And yet this is how most marketers market: They are using the tools, but not really marketing

Marketing technology – tools used to monitor and tools used to ‘push’ messages, and ‘push’ leads to buy – a) present an opportunity cost that distracts from improving a product, website, or creating helpful content that pulls traffic, leads and sales, b) dominate marketers’ time and become a job in themselves, c) tend to objectify customers, d) convinces marketers they can control things they cannot. Seeing uninspired execution in hi-resolution is not winning. They generally get people focused on what they can strip or take from traffic and leads, rather than putting them in a giving, positive, helpful, stance. 

Mar-tech and ad-tech have their place. Here’s some good ways to know if you’re obsessing too much on the technology at the cost of actually winning. 

If you’re more concerned with:

  • Looking for ad platforms that get more clicks; 
  • Altering your ads – that are informative and which don’t have offers – to get more clicks;
  • Tuning your bid strategies, ad groups, and other technical aspects of your paid ads;
  • Better monitoring;
  • Creating lead and sales goals;
  • Optimizing conversions of leads you’ve gathered;
  • Automating email to keep leads engaged;
  • Improving sales enablement to close more leads; 

…and you’re not considering either a) how to improve your product (ideally using consumer feedback and surveys), or b) generating content that pulls leads rather than using technology to sell more of the people you’ve pushed your ads in front of, you’re missing an opportunity. Technology has gone from being a ‘good servant’ to being a ‘cruel master’. 

You’re what we’d call a sophomore marketer: a wise idiot. Smart enough to know the technology, but not smart enough to ask yourself whether 1/50 people clicking your ad, when you have an exact keyword match, is objectively good; not smart enough to ask yourself if you’re marketing in ways you hate to be marketed to yourself

This manifests as landing pages that aren’t choc-full of great content and useful, but which are focused on gathering leads as values-in-themselves, are not a best practice. It’s ClickFunnels, forgetting that people never onboard where you want them to, and that their Buyer Journey is a scribble – no t a straight line. If you create matrixed content, and let people discover it, you’ll do better than trying to herd people like cats, with funnels – tinkering with assumptions and mutable Buyer Journeys you can’t really control. 

Monitoring tools are maybe the most guilty of inspiring a false sense of control, and prodding people to tweak funnels, and basically ‘get something for nothing’. We promise, unless you have obvious friction points, like a horrible website, or stolen blog copy, you’re missing the point by obsessing on these monitoring tools. It becomes about how to get more through each point of the ‘funnel’, when seldom is this dictated by more than your product and website being great.

Google is looking at human behaviors in determining whether to give you better Page Rank (and more search traffic). And that’s a function of your product and service offering, and the visibility and objective value of the content you’ve put out there for people to discover during their search. Your funnel won’t help with that. 

This tendency is like obsessing about SEO, which junior marketers also do. SEO is something you should do after you’ve made the best product or service you can, and after your website is amazing and full of helpful content

Similarly, it’s not respecting your customers to work with arbitrary monthly or quarterly revenue goals. Again, both traffic and sales wins are gotten by being awesome. To have targets or goals, without asking yourself what you’re going to do to get there, what helpful content you’re going to offer people – without fixing your product or making your website amazing and helpful – is the way a child thinks. It’s not on the receiving end but on the giving end that sales or traffic target numbers are determined.

The same is true with email automation. It’s a powerful tool that is typically misused. Email is an incredibly private modality. Having access to people, at the homes or through mobile devices, and using that to interrupt people to talk about yourself, is disgusting.

Nobody cares what you’re up to – they’re busy. Nobody wants to hear about your company update. I mean, when the email ‘gun’ is pointed at you, do you like it? Do you like knowing every development and detail of a company you gave your email address to, once, two years ago? 

No. You don’t. 

People want amazing content. They want you to stop being selfish and talking about yourself. They want you to be buyer-centric. If you’re not offering something amazing – useful and timely and buyer-centric – we don’t recommend you email. Email is a chief offender in ways that companies talk about themselves. 

If you aren’t giving to receive, aren’t making changes with what you give or offer – as a product or on your site, with user experience or with content – you’re not thinking it through. You’re asking how to catch more fish with a better rod, often in the same location in the same lake – when it’s the *bait* that is determinative.

A focus on the tools also tends to become a job in itself, as – again –  rookie marketers seldom recognize that managing a marketing stack is not marketing. And as stated above, these tools get you to think you can see and know things you cannot; that you can predict things that you cannot; that you are justified in throwing out sales or traffic targets that you are not; that you can control things you cannot.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t use paid ads, or watch ad budgets; we’re not saying you should not use automation, or analytics dashboards or monitoring tools, or ask yourself why leads are falling off from initial conversions to SQLs. We’re not saying ‘scrap your stack’. 

Here’s what we’re saying:

  • Recognize the limitations of the technology;
  • Focus on what you’re giving, not taking more from people; 
  • Don’t go crazy trying to measure or predict;
  • Don’t go crazy trying to control or steer or corral people;
  • Make a great product and a great website. Help people with your content. Google will love you after everybody else already loves you;
  • Produce great content and give it away. Be useful to people.
  • Make these tools a servant, and not a master;
  • 80% of traffic and sales wins come from giving to receive – giving a better product, a better website, and better content. It’s 20% that can come from going from zero marketing technology, to a perfectly-tuned lead generation stack (and we’ve never seen a perfect one);
  • And lastly, there’s an opportunity cost for fiddling with all this technology. It grinds you down. It’s tiresome. 

In almost every case, a good press story from a product innovation will produce 500x the traffic and leads gotten from brilliantly executed ‘funnels’ and ‘chat bots’ and ‘automation chains’.

And guess what? PR comes from actually being awesome, not trying to get more while giving the same.