Eric Karjaluoto

Hacks or Value?

There are two common ways to look at marketing. One’s based on hacks. The other centers on value. I’ll describe each. (You’ll immediately know which you hold.)

The hacker approach is exciting. You automate your sales emails. You try to outsmart Google’s search algorithm. You make a video that might go viral. This mentality is seductive, as successful efforts have big pay-outs.

I love a hack as much as the next person. But, I find them impossible to replicate. My (few) successful hacks were lucky accidents. In every other instance, these attempts were time-consuming and resulted in nothing.

The value approach is slower. You talk to you customers. You build your website with accurate content and well structured metadata. You put client relationships over stunts. The value mentality is a commitment to service.

I’ve found success with the value mindset. In almost every instance, it’s led to repeat work, loyal customers, and more predictable cash flow. The only downside? It doesn’t feel like real marketing. This is because the value approach isn’t a game.

The value mindset represents a choice. It requires you to focus your energy on your customers. You learn who they are, and listen to what they need. You explain how your product/service can benefit them—and admit when it won’t. And (this is the important part): if they hire you, you keep the promises you made.

Like I said, the value mindset is slow. This means most marketers don’t have the patience for it. It demands that you practice the same habits every day. Often, it’ll feel like nothing’s changed. In time, though, you might find that your customers do all the marketing for you.

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