How To Invest In The Marketing Channels That “Don’t Work” For Others

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What channels is your industry ignoring? That could be your big opportunity.

When people say that something doesn’t work or that they’re not interested it’s probably because they don’t like.

Maybe they never believed in it and never gave it a real shot.

And it’s usually an incredible opportunity for the few willing to dig in.

You’re in business. You’ve probably been in it for at least awhile. You know how it works.

Nothing really comes easy in business. If it does seem to come easy there’s usually some hidden factors that go into making it seem easy.

I’m reading Ray Kroc’s book about taking McDonald’s to incredible heights. He said that many recognized his easy and quick success with that venture and he looked back on the decades he worked in business and the experience he accrued.

Anyway, the point for this article is that nothing comes easy and that’s true with marketing channels and where and how you get new customers.

Tip #1. Look For “Most Popular” Articles

I love when articles and studies come out like this one:

Which Channels Are Agency Executives and Senior Marketers Investing In?

Have you seen these before?

There are two great charts from this article.

Media Formats

The first one looks at where marketers plan to increase marketing. As you would probably expect the top channel is digital. Social and Mobile aren’t far behind.

And Traditional is way behind. Not many are increasing their investment in traditional marketing right now or in the recent past.

The next chart looks at something similar, but breaks things down a bit more.

Top Marketing Investments

The top one is a little confusing, but you can see that people are heavily looking at content marketing and analytics in the future.

Those are pretty common things. They work really well.

But the trap of findings like this is that you can see that people are investing more in some things and think that you need to invest most of your effort there.

That might be the case, but there is another way to look at these charts.

The biggest opportunities might be the ones at the bottom.

So in this case it might be traditional channels along with native advertising, real time marketing, influencer marketing and so on.

The opportunity is that most people are ignoring these areas. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have the potential to work.

Tip #2. Listen To Colleagues

You probably talk to colleagues, clients, partners and more and discuss marketing and business. You probably ask one another about what you’re investing in and where you see opportunity.

You can really get into some good discussion with complementary businesses and not with competitors. You can exchange information freely and not worrying about divulging too much.

When I have these conversations there are usually marketing channels that people just don’t like. For some, it might be something new that they don’t really understand on the surface. I know that I’ve felt this way in the past. New things can be scary. Things you don’t understand make you shy away.

Other times I’ve seen businesspeople that have invested a lot in new things. They weren’t able to figure it out and now they feel burned by it. So they’re probably not going to keep beating a dead horse trying to make it work.

There are others that have found success in a channel, but things have really changed and now they’re looking to jump ship and move on. We’ve seen that in the print marketing world.

In each of those situations and in others there is still opportunity. New things obviously offer opportunity, but it might take many years to figure it out before you really figure things out. In fact, that’s the way it really goes with new things. We’ve seen that with social media and content marketing online.

And old things can come and go. That’s life. Things change. But just because something is old doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for growth. I think that print marketing can still work really well in many ways. And it’s an opportunity because many people are leaving it. The vendors in the print industry though are probably eager to work with those that show enthusiasm.

Tip #3. Search For Bubbles

Now let’s look at the reverse side of things.

Maybe mobile marketing is really taking off. It probably is for good reason. But as we all know, things can swing a little too far sometimes.

Mobile is certainly something that’s impacted how people interact with information. Mobile marketing is obviously an area that’s growing.

But will there be any pushback there? Have we reached a point where things start pushing back against mobile and maybe it goes back a little to what it was before.

It could be simply that we’re excited about mobile and we’re investing a lot and we realize that maybe we’re investing too much.

The opportunity when you see bubbles is that you can pull back and save a little money.

And you can also know that while everyone else is chasing bubbles that you can look in the areas that aren’t as popular at the moment and take advantage.

That might mean that you find something new that kind of is in the infancy stage. Maybe it’s artificial intelligence or something like that.

Or maybe you go back to something like print marketing. Bubbles usually tell you something if you’re able to recognize them.

The old saying is that once someone that has no business giving you advice on something makes a comment then it’s usually a sign. Maybe it’s the least technically savvy person you know telling you to invest in a mobile app or in artificial intelligence.

Once that happens, start looking around…


Opportunity lies where others are unwilling to look. Or maybe the better way to look at it is that when people are unwilling to put in the work and struggle it’s usually a sign of opportunity.

New things come along. People invest, but if it’s difficult they usually walk away. That’s opportunity.

Old things change and become more expensive and difficult. People leave. That’s opportunity.

Where are the opportunities in your business? What marketing channels can you identify that “don’t work” for others, but that will probably work for you if you can figure it out.

Go against the grain if you want to win big. Followers can do very well, but there isn’t as much upside.

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