New Series: How to Hit the Marketing Bullseye


I’ve felt guilty not posting for a while. But I have been thinking a lot about marketing topics as they relate to my past and current position in a new startup. These thoughts keep circling around the same theme for me…

How to Hit the Marketing Bullseye

You see, Marketing (and typically advertising) is an incredibly wasteful profession…

  • Some marketers measure their effectiveness by the amount of money they spend.
  • Some view success by the ‘names in light’ phenomenon – because they have a pretty ad somewhere visible, they’re doing a good job.
  • Some do one marketing function well, and regardless of industry, company, product, or customer they deploy their marketing strategy they know best.
  • Some marketers hire big agencies or big consultants, who’s business model revolves around hours spent and/or money spent.

Marketing has historically been one of the most wasteful professions available to young college graduates!

I can’t think this way. Maybe it’s because I’m on my fourth startup, and in each I’ve  had little marketing budget and huge growth goals. From these experiences I wrote a book on word of mouth marketing and guerilla marketing. I spent 7 years of operational, metrics-driven, Six-sigma optimized marketing at Dell, Inc. (B2B and B2C). While budgets are bigger at Dell, they are tiny compared to the revenue and growth goals. Try a marketing marketing budget of 1-2% of revenue (and declining) with 20% revenue growth goal!

So, I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts centered on principles of how I think about marketing. This way of thinking could also be called:

  • Metrics-driven ROI Marketing
  • Purpose-driven Marketing
  • Prudent Marketing Strategy
  • I’m the World’s Cheapest Marketer!

But I think Hitting the Marketing Bullseye captures all of these.

Here are the principles behind the Marketing Bullseye analogy:

  1. The bullseye represents the highest effective marketing strategy or tactic you can execute to drive the business (revenue and margin contribution) forward.
  2. Each outer ring is the next effective tactic.
  3. The more time you spend on the outer rings, the less effective your marketing gets. And effectiveness is measured by ROI – how much output for every unit of input.

There is more to this of course, and I will start entries to describe this concept and principles behind the bullseye in more detail. I like this analogy because not only is it simple to understand, but also helpful in articulating priorities to sales and senior management. No one wants to suggest you work on an outer ring!

More importantly than the analogy, I will drop posts each week with principles, strategies, stories, and ideas that (in my experience) hit the Marketing Bullseye or help you figure out how to hit the Bullseye in a given situation.

To keep up to date, subscribe via email (on the right) or RSS, and you’ll get future postings on this topic. And if you’ve got an idea or story to share, email blog @

2 Responses

  1. Hey Sam,
    Great idea for a series – I’ll be looking forward to it. I think you should be able to develop the bullseye analogy into a popular book if that’s something you’re looking to do.
    PS I’m the “Rob” who used to be at ACD (we met at the Wizard Academy). I’m now at a new startup called Pixpo ( We just got our series A financing but are still marketing on a shoestring so this is a very timely series!

  2. Hitting the marketing bullseye

    Here’s a great educational series on improving your marketing performance from Sam Decker. Sam’s marketing blog is loaded with good advice but I found this series to be particularly helpful.

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