Why you’ll never stay on top of every shiny new marketing tactic, and why you don’t need to try

For those of us actively working in the marketing space, keeping pace is exhausting. Technologies change at breakneck speed, new channels and platforms are constantly surfacing, all while our budgets, inquiries, and goals hang in the balance. Budget allocation feels like a game of whack-a-mole as we try to both utilize our proven channels while incorporating the new channel du jour. But here’s the striking reality: we’re never going to be on top of every channel and every new technology, so we shouldn’t even try. Instead of focusing on platforms, we must instead focus on process—a process of deep optimization through channel neutrality.

Ok, I just threw out a lot of words there, so let me walk you through what I mean. How often has someone proclaimed something similar to the following statement:

“Snapchat is blowing up. We definitely need to be on Snapchat.”

or

“All of our students are on Instagram now, so we need to start owning that platform.”

So you mobilize, researching the platform and deciding on a percentage of your budget to dedicate to this new platform. You may get results, you may not, but you ride the wave of the new channel nonetheless. During these conversations in which new platforms are embraced, the question that so often goes unasked (and therefore unanswered) is:

Would the budget we intend on spending on this new platform actually be better allocated to our highest-performing, current channel? Or, put more succinctly: Before jumping to the newest, sexiest channel in town, are you sure you’re maximizing your current efforts?

Thus, the concept of deep optimization comes into play. In a landscape that is ever evolving, you are often best equipped to better optimize your current marketing efforts than you are to adopt a new, shiny channel. Because presently, your marketing strategy is likely not as optimized as it could be. Can you put more of your budget into the channel with the highest traffic, or would that money be better spent on the channel with the cheapest cost-per-enrollment? Does the channel demanding half of your budget boast dismal returns? Asking questions like these are vital to achieving a state of deep optimization that both gets you the most bang for your buck and mitigates the whiplash that comes from trying to keep up with the changing marketing landscape.

Ultimately, the process of deep optimization will lead you toward channel neutrality—the approach that allows you to agilely move from channel to channel on a fluid basis based on performance. Rather than the fixed, set it and forget it model for channel attribution that assigns dollar amounts to channels based on a preconceived idea of how the pie should be spliced, a channel neutral approach mobilizes the money to where it is best suited for results. This approach says “I don’t care what percentage of my marketing budget does to which channel. I only care about what channel mix works best.”

None of this is to say that you can’t or shouldn’t adopt a new channel—it simply assures that your move to adopt will be less reactive and more calculated. Less fumbling and more synchronized. In the kaleidoscopic hustle that is marketing, lay your roots by optimizing deeper. 

 

To learn more about how channel neutrality fits into your enrollment growth goals, download our free Enrollment Growth Playbook.

Eric Olsen

As AVP of Marketing, Eric brings more than a decade of award-winning creative brand development, marketing analytics and higher education experience to Helix Education. Eric is a graduate of Bradley University and earned his MBA at Lewis University.