1. How do direct-to-consumer businesses grow today? They build remarkable brands.
2. If you ask leaders at some of the biggest DTC businesses in the world for their keys to success, they will invariably start with brand. Brand is the native language of the new DNVB industry. It is the single biggest differentiator in the fight against entrenched, behemoth companies. Brand is everything for these companies.
What I loved about the book was his approach to decision-making and how it centered on this idea of principles. Here’s a brief explanation of how he thinks about principles:
1. Slow down your thinking so you can note the criteria you are using to make your decision.
2. Write the criteria down as a principle.
3. Think about those criteria when you have an outcome to assess, and refine them before the next “one of those” comes along.
This way, whenever a new decision comes your way, you may be able to recognize its similarity to a decision you’ve made in the past, and then you can apply the same principles you used successfully before.
Voila! A shortcut to better decision-making. :)
The book is a #longread, and there are many, many different categories of principles that Ray talks about. One particular category that has stuck with me is his principles for strategy.
Here they are:
Principles for strategy
Don’t put the expedient ahead of the strategic.
Consider second-and third-order consequences, not just first-order ones.
Beware of paying too much attention to what is coming at you and not enough attention to your machine.
Remember that the WHO is more important than the WHAT
All of your “must-dos” must be above the bar before you do your “like-to-dos.”
These have been useful for me as I’ve weighed strategic decisions at Buffer recently.
This is the marketing spreadsheet I use for my 10-person team at Buffer. Feel free to grab a copy and use however you see fit.
A couple words of explanation:
The main sheet pulls some numbers from the Software and Advertising sheets. If you’d prefer not to track things so granularly, you’re welcome to remove those sheets and formulas and enter everything into the main Overview sheet.
The Line Items sheet is intended to hold all the individual expenses that come through on a given month. For instance, I’ll track Continuing Education and Travel/Lodging there, but I won’t track salaries and payroll.
Recently, whenever I’m using one of our Buffer social media tools — Buffer Publish (the original Buffer) and Buffer Reply — I’ll add fixes and ideas to a running Paper doc that I share with the product managers, both of whom are always very nice to respond, sometimes even to fix the things I find or give me the features I want. Sometimes.
That being said, should I be sharing my ideas with them? After all, I am not our target customer.
For better or worse, I tend to be a short-term thinker. Marketing vision does not come naturally to me.
I prefer doing the work rather than dreaming about the work.
You need both, of course: dreaming and doing. When it comes to the dreaming, I hacked my way there by turning it into “doing,” and finding a clear and obvious blueprint to follow in order to come up with the dream.
In what I hope is a soon-to-be-outdated list – I am certain there are favorite marketing books out there that will fast become my favorites once someone introduces them to me – I thought I’d share a few of my favorite marketing books that I’ve read over the past years.
Some of my favorite articles to read are the marketing AMAs at Growth Hackers. There must be hundreds now (I was lucky to be included in one, some time ago). If you’ve yet to check them out or if you’re looking to grab some great ones, here is a list of my 10 very favorites.
One of my favorite ways to level up my marketing is by checking out AMAs at sites like GrowthHackers and Inbound. I read as many as I can, and I save the highlights to a Trello board so I can go back and reference my favorites.