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The Paradox of
Exceptional Marketing

Rand Fishkin | Individual Contributor | Moz

Why is the Night Sky So Quiet?

The mathematical
odds of Earth being
the only life-bearing
planet in the galaxy
are exceptionally
low.

Milky Way Galaxy:
200-400B Stars
~100B Planets
~11B Earth-like Planets
Orbiting Sun-like Stars
SOURCE:
Planetary Habitability Laboratory

13.8 BILLION YRS AGO

If life can form on other planets
(or if meteors/ comets can pass
life between planets), there are
millions of life-bearing
candidates.

Two Possibilities:
1) We’re alone (for now)
2) We’re unable to perceive whomever else is out there
(and they’ve decided to ignore us)

Type III
Civilization

A civilization colonizing enough of the galaxy to
be perceptible to us here on Earth doesn’t take
long on a cosmic time scale.

If any such civilization existed in the last 13 Billion
years (and their wave emissions lasted long
enough), we could perceive them today.

Something must be filtering out any
life that could colonize the galaxy

The Great Filter
Commonly achieved evolutionary leaps

Type III
Civilization

Species
Origin

The Great Filter
An evolutionary leap that no
civilization has passed (yet?).

Maybe We’re the First?

Maybe We’re Extremely Rare?

Or, Maybe, We’re F#@%d

Fermi’s Paradox

It is no good to try to
stop knowledge from
going forward.
Ignorance is never
better than
knowledge.
-Enrico Fermi (1901-1954)

To Learn More Read: Wait But Why – The Fermi Paradox

A Similar Paradox Exists in
the Web Marketing World

The Average New Startup Won’t Last 2 Years

source

The Web is Huge
200+ Million Active Websites

Most People Will Only Ever Visit 200-2,000 (1-10 in a Million)

The Millions of Search Results Beyond Page One
Are Practically Invisible

Recent Data Suggests Searchers Are Less Biased By
Position #1, But As Unlikely As Ever to Visit Page 2+

Nearly Every Web-Connected Human Adopted
Social Networking in Its First 7 Years of Existence

But standing out in the ever-increasing stream of social sharing is
an enormous challenge.

Avg Brand Engagement Rate

4.21%
0.073%
0.069%
0.035%
Data Via Forrester Research

There are ~100X as many non-spam emails sent
each day as there are Facebook messages and posts

Data Via Mailchimp’s Benchmarks

5.3 Trillion display and retargeting ads are served annually: 1,700
per Internet user per month.

In North America, less than 1 in 10,000 ad views result in a click

Being Signal, Rather Than Noise,
Is An Immense Marketing Challenge

Our Job: Take Companies
from
INVISIBLE

KNOWN & LOVED

But, those immense marketing
challenges stand in our path
Us

We Need to Identify, Understand, and Break Through These Filters if
We’re to Create Lasting Companies & Great Marketing

Six of Marketing’s Great Filters
AUDIENCE

COST

MESSAGE

COMPETITIVE
ADVANTAGE

SERENDIPITY

FLYWHEEL

Ability to Reach the Right Audience

Eric couldn’t have been
more literal!

Tip #1: If You Have Great Customers Today, Find
Ways to ID & Target Their Clones

Long before anyone
searches for this

They search for this

Tip #2: Know What Your Audience Does Before
They Search For You/Your Solution

Even one person passionate
about the service can get it in
front of many others

Tip #3: Even a Small Element of Virality is Worth
Repeated Investment and Testing

Mark was among the first to create a comprehensive guide to
Ello. Timing + content = domination.

Tip #4: Early Adoption Gives an Unfair Advantage

Crafting a Message that Resonates

Tip #1: My Best Content and Stories Always
Resonated Offline Before I Made Them Online.

If you know that this headline works better, change
your page title and social shares, too!

Tip #2: Apply The CRO You Learn in Paid Media to
Your Inbound Efforts

Tip #3: Consistency of Message Matters.
Consistency of Format is Boring.

Tip #4: Powerful Messages Are Simple

Tip #4: Powerful Messages Are Simple

Tip #4: Powerful Messages Are Simple

Fitbit isn’t selling “what,”
they’re selling “why.”

Tip #5: Promoting Your Self/Company is Hard.
Promoting a Cause/Mission is Far Easier.

Cost of Customer Acquisition

Paid Marketing Spend

+
All Marketing Salaries

+
All Marketing T&E

+
All Brand-Focused Spend

+
All Marketing Tech Costs

Sales Spend

+
All Sales Salaries

+
All Sales T&E

+
Deal-Closing Spend

+
All Sales Tech Costs

Tip #1: Break Out Costs of Marketing vs. Sales

Trying to build
competence here early
is far easier than
building it after your
paid marketing
machine is running.

Tip #2: Spend Early in Unpaid Marketing Channels

Tip #3: Measure Acquisition Channels by CLTV
(not just conversion rate)

A free trial may initially show worse converting
customers than a demo, but if you follow up w/
right-looking trialers, you can drastically improve
close rates & CLTV

Tip #4: If Possible, Enable Customer Qualification
that Scales Without Salespeople

Enabling Serendipity

Phone Call
Dinner

Volunteering
Email Reply

Coffee

Conference

Things You “Really Don’t Have Time For”

Tip #1: Increase the Potential Vectors of Exposure

And that’s probably why the
Batman won’t show up

Tip #2: Things You Hate Probably Won’t Bring Serendipity

Fullcontact FTW!

Tip #3: Know Something About People Before You Interact

A Story: Some Recent Serendipity

Find Your Competitive Advantage

Tip #1:

“We could make a better
version of that”
“We can do something 10X
better than any of these”

Tip #2: Consistently Ask “Could We Do That 10X Better?”

Strengths
Facebook

Video

Google+ Spending time
Twitter
getting up to speed
SEO these may be a
Retargeting
on
net loss.
Content
Community
Partnerships

Weaknesses
Social Ads

LinkedIn

Trade Show Booths
Affiliate
Display

Email

PPC

Whitepapers

Content/Native Ads

Tip #3: Don’t Get Bogged Down By Your Weaknesses

Strengths
Facebook
Google+

Video
Twitter

SEO

Retargeting

Content

Community

Partnerships

Weaknesses
Social Ads

LinkedIn

Trade Show Booths
Hitting cruise control on
Affiliatethese, rather than
Email
PPC
pressing an advantage
Display seriously hurt, too.
Whitepapers
could
Content/Native Ads

Tip #4: Don’t Get Complacent About Your Strengths

A Flywheel That Scales Without Friction

Get links
Grow network

Amplify

Publish

Grow authority

Rank for slightly
more competitive
terms & phrases

Earn search
traffic

Plan for a traffic graph like this
and you’re doomed.

Tip #1: Anticipate the First Few Revolutions of Any Marketing
Flywheel to Be Insanely Challenging

This is much more realistic.
(via Crain’s Detroit)

Tip #1: Anticipate the First Few Revolutions of Any Marketing
Flywheel to Be Insanely Challenging

Get links
Grow network

Amplify

Publish

Grow authority

Rank for slightly
more competitive
terms & phrases

Our social efforts never grow our
audience… that’s what’s missing.

Earn search
traffic

Tip #2: Relentlessly Search for Your Flywheel’s Friction

Because Moz has had a lot of
success driving organic traffic,
re-targeting is a huge
additional force on our
flywheel

Tip #3: Once a Flywheel is Moving, Any Additional Force
Pushes it Faster – Leverage Those Forces!

There’s
Another
Possibility

There is a Type III Civilization, But
They’re Not Friendly.
Type III
Civilization

Species
Origin

The Great Culling
To prevent competition, a civilization may be
killing off any who make it too far.

“(Messaging extraterrestrials is)
deeply unwise and immature…
The newest children in a strange
and uncertain cosmos should listen
quietly for a long time, patiently
learning about the universe and
comparing notes, before shouting
into an unknown jungle that we do
not understand.”
- Carl Sagan (source), 1934-1996

Competitors: 19%
Competitors beating you in your own
marketing channels: <19%
The 800lb gorilla competitors do not, however,
appear to be the great filters in our world.
Source

Marketing (especially
through inbound
channels) appears to
be a rarely contested
and, thus, uniquely
powerful way to build a
competitive advantage
and barrier to entry.

The Paradox of
Exceptional Marketing
Rand Fishkin | Individual Contributor | Moz

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