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The Power of Saying No in Marketing

A recent piece in the Harvard Business Review points out the strategic advantages of saying no. Here’s what marketers can learn from this concept.

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A recent piece in the Harvard Business Review touts the importance of saying no to help you really go all in and focus on your current projects. However, it’s bigger than saying no to more work; gaining value from this strategy requires determining your most important objectives and how to achieve them. In marketing, there are constantly competing demands, and refining your focus can help you generate the greatest results. Here are four places to say no in marketing that can help grow your business and maximize results for your most important activities.

Say no to new channels: Omnichannel marketing is getting all the attention right now. Companies need to be where their customers are, delivering powerful messages across channels. It’s important to think about in-store and in-person interactions, digital channels such as websites and social media, and off-site digital interactions ranging from print publications to outdoor advertising. But you don’t have to constantly take on new channels. A new popular social media platform launch? Deciding not to engage in specific marketing channels can ensure that you have the focus to deliver the best experience on your chosen channels.

Say no to new customer segments: A popular way to grow a business is to bring your products and services to a different type of customer. For example, if you’re currently focused on one industry, perhaps marketing B2B in another industry will help you achieve higher revenues. In some cases, this can work. It’s important to determine which customers are most profitable for your business. Expanding can be a good idea, but it’s also okay to say no.

Say no to new advertising campaigns: If you’re on a limited advertising budget, is it better to spread it out over multiple channels? Many marketers think that can expand their exposure, but concentrating on a single channel can ultimately be more effective. Going deeper with your advertising on just a couple platforms lets you target your audience profiles, creative, and responses over time.

Say no to new projects: There are endless possibilities in marketing. For example, within content marketing, you could develop white papers on a wide variety of subjects. However, will publishing 20 new white papers this year be more effective than publishing five exceptional long-form pieces? Often, the answer is no. Evaluate each proposed project to ensure it aligns with your business goals and that you have available budget and staff time to get it done right.

In marketing, what you say no to is just as important as what you choose to do. Take the time to evaluate each new opportunity under consideration and ensure that it aligns with your goals and ability to address it completely.