Inflection 1: Why most digital marketing advice doesn’t work

Inflection 1: Why most digital marketing advice doesn’t work

Dylan Touhey

This is the first post in my "Inflections" blog series where I lay down the hard truths and remedies for SaaS marketing.

Let’s skip the introductions and get to the point. 

Digital marketing can be an amateur sport. You don't need to go to school for it. Anyone can write “Analytics Ninja” in their Twitter profile. Anyone can research “the top 25 tips to get traffic from Instagram.” Few people actually study or take courses from true experts. 

This is shitty.

Because your company needs to know what works. You have employees and competitors to stay ahead of. Unfortunately, popular marketing blogs tend to publish topics that people want to hear about (“Growth Hacking" or “How to Get Traffic from Vine”) rather than boring practical advice that actually builds your business. 

My goal for this blog series is to give you advice that will actually help you get customers. There will be nine posts in this blog series. I'm only going to share things I've actually done and digital marketing lessons our team has learned. By the end of the blog series, you will understand: 

  • The big lesson I learned for getting SaaS customers 
  • Why your Facebook and AdWords campaigns aren’t getting customers
  • Lessons my team has learned about selling enterprise software
  • How to position SaaS products in crowded markets 
  • Tie your marketing back to revenue with these five essential SaaS metrics 

But before we begin, let’s make sure we are on the same page. 

So why does most marketing advice not work?

Three big reasons. 

One: the consultants don't have experience. Or they used to have experiences to talk about, wrote about them all, and now need a new topic for their ClickZ column. They just tell you the best practices they've read about, rather than actually tried on real digital campaigns. 

Two: if you read popular marketing blogs you are likely getting advice from people who are spending their days writing posts that will get traffic (like “50 Instagram Hacks to Get You Traffic” or “Advanced SEO Excel Tricks for Keyword Nirvana”) than actually doing marketing. The real practitioners, the ones working on the campaigns and finding out what works the hard way, are the people I like to learn from. But they rarely have the time or motivation to write five blog posts per week. It took me three months to finally get these ideas published! I don't know where, for example, Neil Patel finds the time to publish a new blog post everyday (cough. . . ghostwriters). 

Three: people don't really want to hear the truth. They want the easy and mysterious answer. For example, if you change your button color to purple your sales will increase. Or that schema makes the search algorithms automatically love you. 

Here’s the missed opportunity... 

There is so much possibility in digital channels. We have clients making a lot of money. We have worked on sites with millions of visitors. You can track conversions. You can clearly see what works, what makes money. You can analyze your customer’s intent, their preferences, and see so much data. But if you are always chasing a consultant’s advice or looking for the next magical tool, you’ll never get your digital marketing program off the ground. 


The point is you need to stop looking for the magic bullet. You need to think about principles, not tactics. I’ll be guiding the way. In the following post, I will show you how to get more customers from AdWords and Facebook ads. No special tricks. Just practical insights from campaigns I’ve worked on. 

Onwards and upwards!