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Marketing Strategy

The Power and Curse of Saying “No”

The Power of Saying No

The following is a transcript from our podcast episode, “The Power and Curse of Saying ‘No’”

Hello and welcome to the second season of the Destination Podcast. I’m your host Patrick King, founder of the marketing agency Imagine.

Now, I’d like to start this new season off with some lessons I’ve learned by doing the Destination Podcast, and ways that those lessons can change the way you approach marketing and promotion. But first, a huge thank you to those that subscribed to the podcast during the last season. It’s really encouraging to see our audience grow over the past year.

If you haven’t, consider dropping us a review if you like what we’re doing. If you have ideas or topics you want to hear, let us know that as well by visiting and sending us a message. Ok, on with today’s episode.

The first lesson I learned from doing this podcast over the past year is to not be the last to try something new. As marketers, we’re constantly inundated with promotions of platforms and tools that promise to be game-changers. It can be easy to tune out and say that when enough of the industry adopts it, then we will too. But the problem is, we end up saying “no” too often and miss out on opportunities left and right.

Don’t get me wrong, we all need a fair amount of “no” in our lives. It helps us focus on the things that really matter in business and our lives. Personally, I’m on what a colleague of mine calls “no therapy” which isn’t the absence of therapy; instead, it’s saying “no” to more things than you say “yes” to. By like a lot. I’m at somewhere around saying no to two-thirds of the things I’m asked and I’m trying to get to about 80%.

Saying “no” is a great way to reduce clutter and exhaustion in our lives. But we can take it too far and shortchange our progress. Saying “no” to trying something new on the basis that everyone else hasn’t tried it out yet is essentially waiting for a trend to die before you climb on board. You get left behind.

Anyway, marketing is constantly evolving and as professionals, our strategies need to evolve with them. We owe it to our organizations to learn about the tools available to us, before we’ve waited for some saturation point because when that point comes, it’s too late for us to stand out.

This podcast is one such example. As we were going through 2020, podcasts began to make a major comeback. Instead of seeing how others in marketing were going to use them in this new wave, we just jumped in. And you can kinda tell that we did.

If you go back and listen to our first episodes, you can tell that the production’s not great, we were publicly finding our voice, and that we were learning as we went. But eventually, everything came together, and we learned from experience. In fact, this podcast is still evolving and what it looks like when we’ve fully found our groove, I have no idea. But with each episode, we get closer to what that ultimately is.

The same can work for you when trying out a new platform, which leads me to the next thing I’ve learned, and that is…

There’s no such thing as a perfect time to start something. If you’re waiting for conditions to be ideal to venture into the unknown, that time may never come. And while you’re waiting for it, others are already doing it and reaping the rewards for being bold. If you’re considering things like TikTok, personalization, chatbots, or a totally different Martech stack, don’t wait for the stars to align. Weigh its potential to improve your brand experience, evaluate the market, then jump in.

The next lesson – well, one I already knew but this experience confirmed it – is that originality beats polished content all day, every day. Perfection costs time and money, and while you may get a return on your investment, you don’t get time back and the volume of content you need to produce just can’t happen if everything needs to be super polished.

Think about when you go on your own social media accounts. You may be on one now while you’re listening to this. Notice how the vast majority of the pages or people you follow don’t post super-polished stuff. Instead, they focus on consistency and originality.

Larger brands like Uber and Airbnb saw this last year and followed suit, in part because getting a production team together in a pandemic was like trying to nail Jell-o to a tree, but they saw that there was a significant return on publishing quick and dirty content.

It also comes across as more authentic. After listening to I don’t know how many podcasts and the range of production quality, as well as trying different formats out on this podcast, I realized that simpler is better. It’s easier to be consistent if we’re not bogged down with a ton of post-production work. This episode is being recorded at my home, not some cutting-edge studio. I did spend money on a good mic and workstation but it’s not a very fancy setup. And it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, we feel like we need to have things perfect for the public to see them but it’s definitely not the case. As the saying goes, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

You don’t need to be on every channel in your marketing. By trying to be active everywhere, you’re doing a disservice to the channels that work well for you. Last year, we did a series on YouTube called Terms of Engagement. It was a talking-head style series, and it was a lot of fun to put together, but it didn’t go anywhere. So now, our YouTube channel just serves as a place to show past campaigns and webinar recordings.

Could I have done the series a little longer to see if it takes hold? Probably. Would it have made much difference? I don’t think so. And you can look at your channels the same way. Maybe Twitter isn’t giving you any results. Or maybe you’re getting a lot of visibility on YouTube but no website traffic.

There’s no shame in shutting down a channel because it isn’t helping you meet your goals. And by doing so, you’re allowing yourself to concentrate more in the areas that move the needle. We only have but so much time and, with that time, you can go broad in your marketing, or you can go deep. You can seldom do both and depth is where you really make the most traction.

This isn’t – nor will it probably ever be – a top podcast like The Daily or Stuff You Should Know. It’s not designed to be. This podcast is intended to provide insight to a specific group of marketers – namely, those that promote places and certainly not the general public. And as long as it continues to serve its purpose, we’ll continue to add to it.

Ultimately, I learned – or rather, had reaffirmed my belief that trying new things is important for growing as a marketer, saying no is also important as long as they’re educated rejections and you’re doing it for the right reasons, and that stopping something because it doesn’t work isn’t failure – it’s the freedom to move on and go deep where it counts.

In this season, we’re going to do a mix of interviews and monologues, just like last season. We’re going to go over new topics like the current state of the restaurant industry, why you might want to consider a podcast, and in-depth looks at new technology and how we can all accomplish more while doing less. If you haven’t already, consider subscribing so that you get notified of these episodes as they air and, if you’ve been with us since last season, maybe hand us a review.

Finally, I’m always looking to speak with other professionals that are doing things outside the norm. If you have an awesome campaign or even some out-of-the-ordinary approaches to how you promote your destination, I’d love to speak with you. Anyway, that’s it for this episode and I’ll be back in two weeks.

Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.

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