Successful marketers today feel intense pressure to know everything (and know it well).
Marketers must master multiple tools, cramming as much knowledge and expertise as possible into their brains.
Considering the resulting information overload marketers face, it’s a small miracle they retain much of anything.
It’s certainly possible to get by being “just OK” at all the marketing techniques out there, but this jack-of-all-trades approach doesn’t fuel success.
It’s better to prioritize the marketing niches we as marketers would like to master, absorbing the maximum amount of information on one marketing aspect before moving on to another.
We might be stuck in multitool hell, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight our way out.
By honing specific skills and developing true expertise, it’s possible to craft successful marketing campaigns without losing our edge—or sacrificing our sanity.
Can Technology Help Overcome Information Overload?
Every facet of the marketing world has a technology element designed to enable its success.
Content management, content personalization, and marketing automation systems streamline cumbersome processes, but they still require someone to learn how to use them, exploit their strengths, and measure their effectiveness.
Each of these facets can be a discipline unto itself, though.
Aside from inventing a time machine, it’s impossible to master every area of the ever-expanding marketing world at once.
And don’t forget the time necessary for ongoing maintenance to keep programs, campaigns, data, and resources easily accessible and efficient.
It quickly becomes overwhelming.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be MacGyver to defuse this marketing tech time bomb.
By narrowing your focus and concentrating on one piece of the puzzle at a time, you can become a marketing master without falling victim to information overload.
Find Your Machete
Suppose you had to harvest a field of sugarcane.
Would you use the tiny blade of a Swiss army knife, or would you pick up a razor-sharp machete?
It’s important to choose the right tool for the job.
A machete will clearly get you a lot farther much faster.
You might feel the compulsion to know a little about a lot of different subjects, but it’s much better to pick one discipline and really excel.
Once you’ve mastered one skill, move on to the next.
You’ll slowly expand your tool kit without overextending yourself.
Don’t Boil the Ocean
Instead of running up against a gargantuan task, break it down into smaller steps that move you toward your ultimate goal.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Likewise, it takes time to build your marketing expertise.
Hammer out a schedule, put your head down, and ignore everything other than what you’ve planned until you’ve made some progress.
Always Strive to Learn
Set aside time to learn, even if that means doing it on your own time.
Look for opportunities to expand your knowledge while exercising, driving, or commuting.
I achieved Content Marketing Institute certification from the comfort of my treadmill, watching a course every morning while I ran and then taking a quiz before work.
Every little bit counts.
Bring Friends Along for the Ride
Ask your colleagues to share their knowledge.
You might not become an instant master of a colleague’s chosen discipline—and that’s not the goal—but you can absorb a lot of information in a short amount of time by leveraging his or her expertise.
Take a co-worker out to lunch, and bring along a list of questions.
You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn over the course of an hour.
Take a Load Off
Marketers are slowly getting a grip on this information overload.
A recent study found 62 percent of North American B2B marketers felt their organizations were better at content marketing than they were a year earlier.
A renewed focus on content creation and strategy.
Technology will eventually streamline marketing processes, pushing us to the point where we can manage everything we need to deploy, manage, and measure a campaign from a single portal.
Digital marketing as a whole will become much more refined—and less chaotic —than it is today.
In the meantime, pick a channel, and work to build your expertise.
That specialization will be infinitely more useful than a scattershot approach that leaves you with odds and ends of knowledge in a dozen different areas.