Throwing Away Marketing Dollars? Interconnect Your Marketing to Optimize Efficiency.

Marketing is inefficient and, all too often, the dollars marketers spend yield disappointing results. Worse, the standard fixes – new campaign, new website, AI tools, etc. – routinely fall short of expectations.

However, while marketers (and their leaders) are drawn by the allure of silver-bullet tactics, the most persistent source of inefficiency in marketing is not the performance of individual efforts or tactics – it’s the way all those tactics interconnect.

Here are three practical ideas designed not to make your marketing magically efficient but to help you make your marketing remarkably less inefficient.

Idea 1: Use marketing to forge trust

Marketing messages need to do more than pitch your products. They also need to help you establish trust with your customers and prospective customers. But what is trust?

According to leadership researchers at the Harvard School of Business, earning and losing trust is based upon the presence or absence of three elements: authenticity, logic, and empathy.

(Begin with Trust, Frances Frei and Anne Morriss,

I propose that marketers can apply a parallel framework to forge and maintain bonds of trust with customers. Here’s how it works:

  1. If we engineer our marketing to reflect our organization’s unique strengths and values, we can establish authenticity.
  2. If we base our marketing upon a deep understanding of how our products perform relative to those of our competitors, we can establish logic.
  3. If we base our marketing upon a deep understanding of what our potential customer’s pain points are, we can establish empathy.

If our marketing has each of these three components baked in, then we can nurture trust via our messaging.

Idea 2: Think of marketing as a competitive guessing game

Marketing messages eventually need to pull customers toward purchase (or other desired exchange). An effective way to do that is to package your messaging into easily consumable components that prospective customers can readily assemble into your full pitch.

Consider the game of Pictionary or charades where your goal is to get someone to understand your clues faster than your opponents. Marketing is similar. Here’s why.

The media environment is noisier than ever, consumer attention spans are shorter than ever, and potential customers care more about their own problems than they do about your organization. It is only through carefully planned sequencing and repetition that consumers will take notice of your message, make sense of it, and act upon it.

Consequently, your messages must be:

  • Succinct (in order to be noticed)
  • Comprehensible (in order to be understood), and
  • Enticing (in order to motivate action)

Idea 3. Utilize a framework to build trust and pull your customers toward purchase

Your marketing activities and tactics should be structured so that they all work together in a way that fosters trust and pulls customers closer.

You can do this by applying a holistic and concise framework that succinctly and enticingly conveys the components of trust: authenticity, logic and empathy. It’s a lot to pack up, but it can be done.

ShiftUp employs a framework called the DEEP ConnectorSM to do this. The DEEP Connector is a simple single-page document with four elements:

  1. Your Superpower: The thing that: 1) you do particularly well and that 2) meets your customers’ needs 3) in a way that your competitors don’t. Framed as a conversation starter that you lead with.
  2. Your Differentiators: How your company works to achieve what it does. Differentiators (ideally three) support your superpower. They are your second layer of connection.
  3. Your Passion: Why your company even exists. Your deepest layer of connection.
  4. Your Narrative: A brief paragraph that consolidates the top three tiers of the DEEP Connector. It serves as a loose script or outline for your elevator speech.

In addition, there are some important qualities that make the DEEP Connector different from any other framework you’ve seen. The DEEP Connector:

  • Belongs to your entire organization – not just marketing.
  • Ensures that everyone within your organization is aligned on external messaging.
  • Ensures that all marketing partners and agencies are aligned with every other marketing effort.
  • Connects your marketing tactics in a way that reduces inefficiency and delivers a superior ROI.

I’ve spent decades developing and refining this framework and am happy to share it with you in greater depth. To learn more about how your organization can improve the efficiency of its marketing budget, contact me at