Dink, Dunk, then go for the big campaign

Jon Gruden’s offense teaches us a great way to run marketing campaigns.

He runs a West Coast offense with the Oakland Raiders. It relies on a lot of short yardage plays.

Then, once or twice a quarter, he opens up and calls a big play.

It’s a dink and dunk style.

What I love about this style is that when it works, it’s predictable. You know, with a lot of certainty that things are going to work. It will get the football down the field. It will get you a first down.

Then, with enough of those first downs, you can put points on the board.

This is a perfect framework for how to think about our marketing.

If we’re always investing in huge campaigns, we are setting ourselves up for boom and bust.

They might give us 100% growth or they might give us 0% growth. Nowhere in between.

Instead, if we launch our marketing activities in a dink and dunk fashion, getting 10% growth out of each activity, it only takes 10 of those to hit 100%.

And if only half of them get any growth, we just grew 50%.

Then, if we know we have this foundation of small marketing campaigns running, we might be able to go for the big one. Without the risk of betting all our growth on one thing.

Just like Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders.

Let’s just hope his strategy leads to a winning season.

Yellow Journalism


Attention grabbing headlines.

Getting you to read the story today. Regardless of facts.

Does this sound like modern media?

Well, it was the state of journalism in the late 1800s.

Newspapers were designed to sell now.

They needed your attention today, regardless of what was to come tomorrow.

It’s known as yellow journalism.

What is interesting about yellow journalism is what came after.

The New York Times.

The first subscription newspaper that changed journalism for the 20th century.

Which, led to more subscription newspapers.

Then, we got ground breaking stories, like The Pentagon Papers.

Today, we would call yellow journalism click bait or fake news.

It’s everywhere. It’s because of the internet. It’s why I can publish this.

Money is made on ad revenue from impressions.

This is a similar model yellow journalism operated with in the 1800s.

We think this might be a problem.

The best part about problems is that we get to find solutions.

Actually, it’s the only way we get solutions. It’s our path to something better.

It’s not fast. A problem has to get bad enough that we’re willing to pay for the solution.

At that point, the problem is worth solving.

Then, you have a product, you have marketing, and you have a business.


Three staples are the bare minimum needed when attaching fabric to a couch frame.

At least according to Jack White.

What is the bare minimum for a rock band?

Drums and a guitar.

Hence, why the White Stripes were a two-piece band.

Jack White is a master of working in constraints.

Guitars that are difficult to play. Touring with two bands. Forced 2-week recording deadlines.

All artificial constraints. But, his belief is that true creativity comes from constraints.

Our marketing also benefits from constraints.

A niche audience. Specific acquisition costs. Resources. Conversion rates. Time.

With abundance, constraints force us to focus.

What constraints are you putting on your work?

Thoughts about the marketing mix

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

The 4Ps of marketing.

Tried, true, and proven through decades of use.

Sure, there are a few other models. But, all those models contain these four elements.

In tech, it’s common to be “product driven”.

Which means there is likely a “product team”.

When you’re on a product team, it’s clear which “P” you’re responsible for.

If you’re not on the product team, the “P” you manage is a little less clear.

A good question to ask is, what “P” (or “P’s”) does your team manage?

The white claw effect

Stories sell.

They always have and it’s likely they always will.

They sell as ideas. They sell as books. They sell as brands. And, they sell as products.

To craft a great story, though, we have to understand our audience.

If you’re an author, writing a fiction book, you need to understand what your readers crave.

If you’re a marketer, you need to understand your audience and what they want to buy.

The formula for this is:

  1. Audience
  2. Story
  3. Product

My brother came bursting through the door, like he does, yelling about how there ain’t no laws when he’s drinking claws.

The situation was in fact lawless.

Not sure where we were, but this was my introduction to White Claw.

If you’re a marketer, White Claw is amazing.

The product isn’t overly complex. It’s just liquored up sparkling water.

The story they tell is one of inclusion. It’s not a men’s drink and it’s not a women’s drink. It’s a drink for everybody.

This resonates with their millennial audience, and it’s impeccable.

White Claw is audience first.

Story second.

Product third.

And they hit a home run.

That’s why there “ain’t no laws when you’re drinking claws”.