Teardwn Mini-Marketing Lessons
Say Sayonara to "hope-based marketing". Goals first. Then Objectives. Then strategy. Then tactics.
Lesson 1: Marketing strategy 101
"Why isn't my website creating sales?"
"Why isn't my business growing faster?"

Are you asking yourself these questions?

Here's one simple truth: If your message is confusing, your marketing will fail. So it's time to get back to basics.

In a world of 'me too' offerings, the pressure to stand out and produce results is HUGE. So how do you develop marketing that works? Marketing that people choose to notice?

There's a type of marketing out there that a lot of people talk about. It's a very intriguing type of marketing, it has many followers yet it's shockingly ineffective. Noah Kagan brilliantly calls it "hope-based marketing". What is hope-based marketing? I'll explain it in a couple of minutes. But first, let me ask you something.

Have you ever read an amazing marketing guide, tried to execute it, but failed to replicate the same level of success outlined in that guide?

No? Oh, C'mon! We've all done it.

Maybe the guide was overhyped or outdated. But then you see some entrepreneurs who implemented it, bragging on Medium about the incredible results they got.

(This is the part where you start thinking loudly to yourself Why? Why? What am I doing wrong? Are they smarter than me? I hate marketing! Marketing just looks like time-consuming voodoo! I should just shut down my business! Well...maybe I just need a cold beer).

Ok, let's cool things down.

Here's why it's not working: You're just blindly implementing marketing tactics you've read about and seeing which ones "stick".

Welcome to the School of Hope-based marketing. Hope-based marketing is when you read about a bunch of marketing tactics others are using in your industry or in similar industries and you try to repeat them and copy them with the hope that it will work for you.

How's that working out for you so far?

Here's the truth. As Seth Godin once said: "Marketing that works, is marketing that people choose to notice." And this my friend, requires a solid marketing strategy.

Or to put it differently, getting on the cover is Publicity. PR putting the story into the World, and having people resonate with the story is strategy. And that's why you need strategy. Because in 2018, marketing is no longer about the stuff you make or about interrupting people, it's about the stories you tell.

The good news? I'll teach you what marketing strategy is all about and why getting it right will dramatically help you clarify your message and grow your business.

As a marketer and startup founder I've seen this happen way too many times. I see way too many people out there, from entrepreneurs to marketers to PR folks to consultants, who don't seem to know the difference between marketing strategy and tactics.

And hey, this isn't a matter of semantics, it's negligence. As Henry Mintzberg once said: "Strategy is not the consequence of planning, but the opposite: its starting point". Your strategy, defines your actions and keeps you from getting distracted by the wrong tactics. So let's start by understanding the top down vs bottom up nature of marketing. This is the first step to transform your business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine.

The difference between marketing strategy and tactics.
Marketing without strategy is like Chuck Norris without a beard. Powerless. Yet very few businesses can articulate what their marketing strategy actually is, which is why so many are struggling in today's market…
So before we start this mini-marketing lesson, let me ask you a quick question:

What is your Marketing Strategy?

Let's be honest … You don't have one, do you?

No biggie. Don't feel bad. I've asked this question to hundreds of entrepreneurs and very few had one. 98% typically answer a list of tactics, not a strategy.

The reason strategy gets mostly lip service when it comes to marketing planning and running a real business is because most people misunderstand what marketing strategy really is. And hey, as I wrote earlier, I've seen a bunch of entrepreneurs, PR and marketing gurus posting misleading stuff about this topic too, so please don't feel bad. It's not your fault.

So what is strategy? And why does it matter so much?

Strategy is not a to do list, a mission statement, set of goals, or objectives.

"Giving away freebies" is not a marketing strategy. "Go viral" is not a marketing strategy. "Social Media" is not a marketing strategy. These are all tactics.

The legendary military theorist Carl von Clausewitz defined strategy this way: "Tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war."

I'm sorry if the military lingo doesn't appeal to you, but that's where these terms came from, about 3,000 years ago. So if you want to get your marketing strategy right, this is the golden rule: Goals First. Then Objectives. You build strategy around them. Then tactics.


Goal: Win the war.
Objective: Invade Iraq within 7 days.
Strategy: Shock and awe to paralyze the enemy's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight.


  • Cruise missile attack to shock and awe.
  • Powerful air strikes with thousands of bombs and missiles.
  • Quick ground assaults with overwhelming military superiority
A marketing strategy is a clear explanation of how the goal can be achieved. Like "Shock and awe". Strategy is the long game. It's the broad direction. Tactics is the short game. The small moves that help you achieve the bigger goal. Strategy is all about who you are, it's about your story, about what your brand stands for. Remember, it's not a strategy unless there's an idea behind it.

Missions, goals and objectives are nice and important, but how you plan to achieve them - aka your strategy combined with your marketing tactics - is the best route to success. Or as Seth Godin puts it: "The right strategy makes any tactic work better. The right strategy puts less pressure on executing your tactics perfectly."

Still confused about the difference between marketing strategy and tactics?

Ok. Let's try the "What if" test...

At Domino's one day someone said, "Hey, what if Domino's delivers your pizza in more than thirty minutes, the pizza is free?"

Domino's couldn't compete on quality or price, but they could compete on speedy delivery. So a strategy was born. After that, their entire operation and marketing tactics revolved around the "30 minutes or free" idea. They built a successful strategy around a simple, tactical idea. This strategy worked like a charm until 1993, when a court ruling determined that Domino's owed a $79 million dollar settlement to Jean Kinder, who was hit by a Domino's delivery driver in 1989. After this lawsuit, Domino's dropped the "30 minutes or free" guarantee, and instituted a new policy: "If you are not completely satisfied with your Domino's Pizza experience, we will make it right or refund your money."

So getting back to where we started.

How to develop a marketing strategy that is perfect for your business?

First we dream up your goals. Here's a simple hack. Pick one visionary goal only. Because doing too many things at once is always a recipe for failure. Your marketing goal should be strategic and broad.

So promise me something right now. In 2018, you will have a singular focus towards just one goal. Just one. So you'll know exactly the right path your business needs to follow. Deal?

Example of a marketing goal: Rank my website on the first page of google.

Next we select your objectives. To keep you focused during 2018, you should pick only One SMART objective.

What's a SMART objective?

Specific – target a specific area for improvement.

Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.

Agreed upon – specify who will do it.

Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.


Here's an example of a great SMART objective:

I want to increase traffic to my Website by 50% within 52 weeks.

Next we draft a strategy. This strategy takes you to your goals. Your strategy should be practical but anticipates huge possibilities. And your strategy should always be based on your target audience and what you're trying to achieve.

To rank your website on the first page of google, an example of an effective strategy is to carve out one very narrow niche market and dominate it.

Lefty's is the perfect example of this. Based in San Francisco, Lefty's is a left-handed retail and online store that sells left-handed products like tools, scissors, kitchen items, school supplies, and gifts. Between 10-12% of people on earth are "lefties", making lefties a natural niche market.

Lastly, we select tactics.

These tactics fit your strategy like a glove. By taking these actions as a group, your business will be prepared for bigger things. Let's look at the Lefty's case study again. Lefty's absolutely nails niche marketing. Which tactics did they use that fits their strategy like a glove?

Investing in PPC advertising for search terms that lefties are likely searching. This has been one of Lefty's main marketing tactics. For instance, if you search for "left handed scissors" on Google, you will see PPC ads from Lefty's. Most small businesses out there believe that they have absolutely no chances to compete with big retailers when it comes to PPC advertising, but Lefty's is the classic example that proves that PPC can be valuable for small businesses targeting niche markets.

One more thing...

Watch Steve Jobs' amazing marketing strategy

More good stuff next lesson,

Miguel / Founder Teardwn

If you're interested in learning more about how our service works, write us: miguel@teardwn.com.
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