The martial art that I practice places an incredible amount of emphasis on the basics of the art. Basic footwork patterns, basic abilities to hit, grapple, throw, and otherwise put the kibosh on someone trying to hurt you.

Winchendon Martial Arts CenterOne of the things that every senior instructor at my dojo, the Boston Martial Arts Center, constantly emphasizes is the refinement and polishing of our basics. If you punch someone, you want them to stay punched. If you throw someone, you want them to stay thrown. All the fancy moves and movie-like choreography will do you no good whatsoever if the bad guy gets back up and starts griefing you again; conversely, all the fancy moves are completely unnecessary if you get out of harm’s way and deck the guy so hard that his unconceived children feel it.

What does this have to do with marketing? Simple. We forget the basics all too often. In our attention deficit society, in our 90 hour work week system, we’re so easily distracted by flashy toys and tricks that we forget to practice and refine our basics. The ability to send out an effective direct email campaign. The ability to optimize a web page for the basics of search engine optimization. The ability to design a usable interface to our information.

This is a topic I’ll be talking about more at the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Mixer in October. We’ll explore the levels of marketing basics just like a martial art, showing you what “white belt” skills will always pay off no matter how many grades of black belt you have.

In the end, no matter how fancy your marketing or martial arts, chances are in any real encounter on the street or in your vertical, you’re going to get one shot that will decide whether you make it or don’t. There’s no second place prize. The only way to be confident in that one shot is to have solid basics that you can rely on.

Ask yourself this as a marketer: what are your basics? How reliable are they? How confident are you in the results you can generate with them?

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