Laws of Marketing Power: Concentrate Your Forces

“Perfection resides in quality, not quantity.”

–Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

arrowsLaw 23—”Concentrate your forces”says so much. Following this law empowers marketers to capture the spirit of the manufacturing industry’s lean approach to eliminating waste and maximizing resources. It is the ultimate representation of efficiency and cross-departmental alignment. It speaks of selective dedication rather than superficially trying to do a little bit of everything or be all things to all people. By keeping consistency in messaging and hitting the right channels, marketers get more bang for their buck. When they intensely focus activity on the ideal audience, marketers increase the chances of their messages being received.

Cries that fall on deaf ears are a waste of time and energy. Marketing to the wrong audience = nobody cares … except your boss who keeps wondering why you don’t have a sufficient volume or the right type of new customers. Therefore, deliberately selecting the right people to receive marketing communication is paramount for achieving business goals. Greene draws the analogy of exploring one deep mine vs. multiple shallow ones: Tapping the rich mine will always yield more (and be a better use of time) than skimming the top of deficient ones.

Just as marketing (and sales) resources are forces to align, so, too, is the mind. The mind needs to focus on a goal, not wander aimlessly from goal to goal. Prioritizing and being mindful of a goal is like coordinating all forces on one front: The attack is stronger and the outcome better when all mental energy is expended on a singular task. Despite the prevalence of frantic lifestyles and always-on technology, humans generally aren’t good at multi-tasking. When attentional resources are spread out across numerous points, the quality of all work suffers. Nothing gets done well or gets done at all.

Marketers who plan and marshal their resources effectively create better materials and get better responses. Power lies within message consistency and timely delivery (Law 35). Repetition leads to memorability, which can ultimately lead to buyer preference (the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know). The bet is simple, if occasionally counter-intuitive: Put all your energy into those activities that are most profitable, and ignore the ones that are not.

The reason ignoring unprofitable activities is sometimes counter-intuitive is because many marketers (erroneously) maintain that you should be doing everything under the sun regardless of quality. The practice can also be difficult for the many marketers who don’t know which longstanding activities are actually unprofitable relative to more successful ones. For example, only 28% of marketers believe they understand the return-on-investment of their content. Even more (49%) lack a content strategy. Knowing the profitability of content is the first step toward determining which types you need and how much more time should be spent on creating it vs. performing other types of marketing.

In all marketing, let us remember the power of quality over quantity. Just because there are a million social networking websites doesn’t mean your business should be on all of them.  There may be a thousand pages you could add to your site; are they valuable to users? Are you going to better attract your ideal customer with 5 low-value pieces of content or one really good one? Asking these types of questions truly allows marketers to concentrate their forces for maximum returns.


This post is part of a series in which I explore in-depth how some of Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power relate to marketing.


Photo courtesy of Robert S. Donovan via Flickr.

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