Mark Amtower


Marketing by whim is not marketing

There are always new shiny objects littering the various avenues along web 2.0 (soon to be web 3.0?), tools that can be snarky or fun, tools employed in the realm of business to consumer, with Generation Zs or even with the Millennials. 

Then there are mainstream tools such as videos and podcasts, animation tools and others that, when used well, have legitimacy across markets: B2C, business to business, and GovCon, tools that help the company gain real traction toward a definable, measureable goal.

But when you have a neophyte in the role of marketer, a person with the power of making decisions for the company, you have the potential for disaster.

Too often in companies of a certain size, the role of marketing, by default, goes to the founder, president, CEO. This often results in marketing by whim, the result of seeing a shiny object used by others, becoming enamored of that shiny object, and wanting to get one of your own. “Did you see that YouTube interview of John Smith, the CEO of Small Company One, the one with the cartoons? That was so cool! We need one of those…”

I have had numerous conversations with the owners of small companies regarding shiny objects. Some of those conversations go something like this:

Owner: “Hey Mark, did you see that (video, podcast, blog post) from Small Company Two? They got 2,750 (views, likes) and they probably got a ton of business from that. Can you help me do that?”

Mark: “Maybe, but to drive that much traffic you need to share information that resonates with your audience and you need to develop a following (subscribers, followers on LinkedIn, etc). It takes time. You’ll need to set realistic goals for what you want out of this and set some metrics. Are you prepared to do that?”

Owner: Sure, let’s try it and see what happens.”

One month later…

Owner: “We did two (podcasts, videos, blog posts) and we only got 12 views. This doesn’t work.”

This reminds me of the numerous times I’ve heard “We did a white paper and nobody read it.” I wish I was exaggerating but these conversations have occurred for years, and they are recurrent.

All of us see things we think are cool, and then try to think of ways to use them. The random approach taken by some is not marketing. It is wishful thinking, the misapplication of a valid and useful marketing tactic to satisfy the whim of a CEO desperate to create awareness for themselves or their company.

Getting traction from any marketing effort takes planning. Growing an audience takes time. With a little planning and guidance, many smaller businesses attract more attention.

These same founders/CEOs understand that winning business in this market takes time and planning.

They also need to understand that good marketing requires the same mindset.

Not that I have an opinion…

About the Author

Mark Amtower advises government contractors on all facets of business-to-government (B2G) marketing and leveraging LinkedIn. Find Mark on LinkedIn at

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