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Listen to the average marketing strategy meeting at a company and you’re liable to hear something like this:

  • “We need to adopt service like Zappos!”
  • “We should do what Chris Brogan does with Twitter!”
  • “Do we need a Comcast Frank?”
  • “What if we could reduce costs by making customer service self-serve like Dell?

It sounds so tempting, so good, doesn’t it? Pick and choose best practices from market leaders and you’ll create a market leading company yourself. Makes total sense, right?

ETC2010Suppose we changed the context a bit. How does this sound?

  • “We need to use lots of garlic and butter like Emeril on everything!”
  • “What if we replace all our other cooking methods with a grill like Bobby Flay?”
  • “We should do what Rachael Ray does and use only Extra Virgin Olive Oil!”

If your goal is trying to make sushi, it’s going to be… interesting sushi, no matter how many expert ideas you try to implement.

The lesson here isn’t that Guy Kawasaki or Seth Godin or other folks are wrong. The lesson is that you can’t pick and choose little bits of what they do to replicate their success, any more than you can pick and choose ingredients and cooking methods randomly and get a five star meal. You not only have to know how to cook, you also need to follow the recipes for success to the letter in the beginning.

Let’s take Chris Brogan as an example. If you operate on the basis that Twitter and his book Trust Agents are the foundations of his success, you’ll miss his blog, company, Third Tribe, Kitchen Table Companies, Julien Smith, PodCamp, and many other pieces that all add up to his method. If you want to achieve similar success using his methods, you can’t just pick 10% of what he does and hope that 10% of his success appears. If you’re trying to cook a masterful meal using Emeril Lagasse’s methods, your food is unlikely to improve if all you change is yelling “BAM” at it.

Beware of being a dilettante in marketing methods and ideas. Yes, absolutely read, research, and explore, but if you choose to make a method your focus, you need to commit and go all in to make it work, at least in the beginning. Study the methods, teachers, and results that are available, choose a method that’s aligned with your goals, and then focus exclusively for a while just on making that method work.

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