July 5, 2016

Wide vs Deep Marketing Knowledge

We sometimes go to a quiz on Mondays at a pub called the Fat Cat.

Fat Cat pub Sheffield

The Fat Cat is owned by the adjacent Kelham Island brewery. On Mondays they do a pub quiz and make one of the Kelham beers available for £1.50.

Every time we do the quiz I am reminded of my general ignorance of the world at large.

I rarely give the news more than a cursory glance. I’m good at the sport questions and my history isn’t too bad, but my knowledge of current affairs and popular ‘entertainment’ sucks.

None of the questions are ever about marketing. Which is just as well because I would probably argue about the answers.

In pub quiz terms I have what you might call deep knowledge rather than wide knowledge. It seems you need both to be good at pub quizzes.

Deep knowledge and wide knowledge also exists in marketing, and again you need both. You need a wide knowledge of the fundamentals; the non-changing principles of human nature. Then you need a deep knowledge in one or two relevant specifics.

The list of ‘specifics’ is never-ending and growing. AdWords search, AdWords display, remarketing, Facebook, email marketing, direct mail, Instagram and Twitter are all examples of specifics. Learning them all in detail is an impossible endeavor.

Most people approach this by trying to learn all the specifics without any knowledge of themselves or much knowledge of the fundamentals. Unless you have a very clear idea of who you are and what you are good at the danger is you end up hoarding information about strategies and tactics that simply are not right for you.

Everybody in the marketing world is running round trying to learn the specifics while often paying scant attention to the fundamentals. Learning the specifics of Instagram makes us feel good because we are learning something practical and taking action. But we need to avoid the trap of running around learning all the specifics.

Focus instead on the fundamentals, then choose one or two specialist areas. I suggest you own your own marketing plan, then focus only on the things you are good at. You can buy everything else around the corner; the marketing equivalent of inviting more people to your pub quiz.

I have a list of books that I think provide an excellent grounding in marketing fundamentals. It that is of interest I’ll share the list tomorrow.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.