Digital Is The Wild West

Digital Marketing Is The Wild West

Just like the 19th Century gold-digging madness that once took place across Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Americas, we are once again in the midst of gold rush. The dot com boom of the 1990s ushered in a new era of instant billion dollar fortunes being made and lost, and everyone’s trying to get a piece.

The upside? A low barrier to entry and a democratised means of production.

The downside? It’s the Wild West – every day we’re bombarded with bullshit from crooks.

So how do you end up retiring to Mexico with the gold? Saddle up partner – we’re riding out.


Old West Treasure Map

“Dying ain’t much of a living, boy.” – The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

You’ve heard it before – if your business isn’t optimised for the digital economy, you’re a goner. At best you’re losing easy revenue from new prospects. At worst you’re heading for extinction. So you end up taking a little bit of everyone’s advice, and end up with a lot of semi-formed wastage. The solution? Build a strategy and follow it.

When you follow the crowd into the wilderness hoping to make it rich, most people end up chasing quicksilver. You’re going to end up starving to death in a ravine with a broken leg, eaten to death by hungry mountain lions, or getting a job in Macca’s because your business went bust and you’re too embarrassed to call up any of your mates anymore. It’s better to go your own way – set up base camp near the foot of a small but achievable summit and prospect for gold while growing a subsistence crop of loyal clients.

The Takeaway

  • Don’t rush in – craft a strategy with definite goals.
  • Find your niche, trust your instinct, make a plan and follow it. 


Two Mules For Sister Sara

“Everybody’s got a right to be a sucker… once.” – Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)

You’ve tried one or two marketing endeavours, and you didn’t see a Return-On-Investment. You got suckered into poor tactics, and now you’re gun-shy. Nobody likes feeling like a sucker. That’s how greasy marketers thrive – they take advantage of people who feel out of their depth but don’t want to look stupid, suckering them into spending money on shiny gimmicks (clicks, impressions, views) when what they need is gold (leads, customers, sales). The result is that people start believing that all marketing is a scam, and they give up on it. 

For most people there’s only one way to succeed – fail first. Next time, fail better. Make sure you’re not throwing good work after bad though – when you fail, ensure that failure helps you carve out a path to your next goal. Clear intentions are essential – did you know exactly what you were trying to do when that failure occurred? Did you have specific goals and do you know why those goals weren’t met?

The Takeaway

  • Courage is hard and getting back on the horse is scary but if you don’t take a risk, you’ll never get the gold. The key is to take measured risks.
  • Think big, spend small. Start with clear intentions and don’t get suckered into an endless parade of new tricks.
  • Ensure that your tactical approach matches your broader strategy, and don’t get the two mixed up. Know exactly what you’re trying to do, and take the lesson with you. Small failures pave the way to big wins. 


A cemetary

“In this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend. The ones with loaded guns and the ones who dig. You dig.” – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Much like the Old West fantasies of buried Inca treasure and mysterious lost cities of gold, the internet is the great frontier. You don’t need to be clever, or rich, or even have any original ideas – you just need guts! And advertising accounts with Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads. And a little extra budget. And…and…and…

You can’t say the word “digital” without some algorithm feeding you “the one secret rule” to find the buried gold on the internet. Remind you of anything? All these internet entrepreneurs who promise the moon for the price of a tinfoil-covered carboard cutout are little more than snake oil salesmen. Many of them are worse – bandits who’ll scalp you for a fistful of dollars. 

Facebook, Google and the other leading platforms all operate on a very lucrative model: pay to play. What you need to do is stock up your private arsenal. Whether that means building a strong email list, investing in killer SEO, creating an unbeatable loyalty program or pursuing ways to encourage customer reviews and testimonials, there are loads of economical ways to take back your fistful of dollars and invest in a sustainable model. Don’t be a damsel in distress, filling the coffers of Silicon Valley and waiting for a hero to save you – identify what your strengths are and focus on them.    

The Takeaway

  • Don’t waste your time digging on someone else’s treasure map – you’ll end up as indentured labour. 
  • Focus on digging for value – build your own channels.



“‘Bout time this town had a new sheriff.”High Plains Drifter (1973)

Why do so many businesses fail? Because they’re trying to do what they’re not good at. You can’t be all things to all men, but we encounter so many people trying to do everything themselves. Not only are they running their business – they’re also running their website, their social media, their email marketing, their analytics, their PR and everything else…and quite often, running everything at half-measures. Which results in slowly running your business into the ground.

The sparkling metropolis you had in mind has turned into a one horse town of haggard hacks – and you’re starting to suspect that nobody’s going to do anything about it. It’s time to hire a new sheriff – somebody to clean up your town.

The Takeaway

  • Focus on what you’re good at, whether that means being the Mayor (shaking hands and cooing over peoples’ babies) or the Shopkeeper (supplying goods in a dependable way).
  • Don’t put the wrong person in the wrong job – and that includes trying to DIY everything. You need the right pair of hands for the right task.

That’s our cue to enter the scene – why?

…because we’re Clint Eastwood and we’re here to run these crooks out of town.

Ready for your free 30 minute strategy session?

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