At the recent MarTech conference, I asked vendors what sorts of AI they built into their platforms. Most were hesitant to discuss tools or techniques, either for fear of sharing their "secret sauce" or because they didn’t know what their platform was built on. So many marketers are afraid of giving away any information about what they do and how they do it. Their fear isn’t unfounded; as barriers to entry continue falling, competition for attention grows fiercer by the day.
However, three things set us apart from our competitors: tools, techniques, and talent. With all three, we can give away knowledge about any two and still beat our competitors. Let’s examine this through the lens of food.
The best chefs in the world have great tools, great recipes, and amazing talent. The dishes they create are sublime. Give a truly expert chef a terrible pan and a handful of good but not great ingredients and they’ll still create wondrous dishes. They’ll bring out the maximum potential from what they have to work with.
Give the average person the best ingredients and the best equipment and they may create good or even borderline great dishes, but nothing approaching the level of a professional chef, even with a master chef’s recipe. Give the same person mediocre ingredients or bad tools and we’ll be dialing out for pizza.
In the same way, expert marketers will generate amazing results when working with the best tools and resources. The 10x marketers are few and far between, but if we find one, we will know. We will experience faster, better results than we’ve ever seen from our marketing – even if our tools and our resources aren’t the best.
Tools are commonplace.
Recipes are easily copied.
What sets us apart is our talent.
If we lack talent, then we must protect our company’s tools and techniques. If we have talent in abundance, then we can share tools and techniques without worrying that a competitor will seize advantage.
When we consider what to invest in, every vendor will tell us about how amazing their tools are or how proprietary their ingredients are. When we consider our marketing investment from this lens, we see that investing in our own talent makes the most sense and provides us the largest long-term benefit.
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