In Marketing, Little Things Usually Make All The Difference

ByNSE Interactive

Many brands, especially start-ups and small-medium ones, prefer to listen to advice coming from large marketing agencies than boutique marketing strategists like us. Similar to others, we’ve experienced the same with this recent client of ours. They are one of the largest start-up accelerators in Malaysia, and which brand hired me to transform its marketing ROIs back a few months ago. Their management team just won’t listen, let alone consider suggestions made by us. After only three months of engagement, we are deciding to walk away from this engagement. 

There were a few times, our previous clients came back to us for help. They said they’re willing to comply with suggestions made by us this time. When they reached out to us for the second time, it was too late. The attempt made was simply a measure to counter their desperation to revive the dying existing marketing strategy and initiatives.

At NSE when we develop marketing strategies for clients, we will personalise the strategy. Personalisation of a marketing strategy usually will take into consideration many factors, the marketing and non-marketing ones. Within both, there are major things and ‘little things’.

Many brands question these ‘little things’. These clients prefer to focus on the bigger ones—the shiny ones. To them, they ‘know’ those ‘little things’ more than we do. They insist on understanding more of the bigger ones because that is what they are paying us for. 

There are eight of them 

What are those little things we’re talking about? Here are the top ones. We suspect there are more though.

Skilled resources 

Many brands neglect this part the most. We know this one internet publishing company that depends on non-skilled employees to run their marketing game. A total of 8 people who aren’t able to write proper sentences in English, have no basic skills in writing and below average skills in graphic design and video editing, are being deployed to run their marketing operations. They are relying heavily on tools which can only cover certain levels of tasks and not all. 

Here’s another nightmare story. A medium-sized company only have two people to run 6 brands under the same company. Each brand has its own social media channels, blogs, websites and content to run every single day. 

Perhaps, the management team of these companies thought anyone can deliver all the marketing tasks at hand. Maybe they thought that those tasks are ‘simple’. And all they have to do is to pick random staff in their office and assign marketing to them. This management doesn’t have a clue that marketing itself is a wide subject and within marketing, there are many sub-elements involved. They aren’t aware that each of these elements is not the same and requires different skill sets altogether.

Balancing the strategy development with execution

This is one of the most interesting findings ever. Not many brands out there prioritise the development of marketing strategy enough. They prefer to simply sketch things in their head and then jump straight into execution. When the campaigns failed to produce significant results, the company will put the blame on the working level marketing team who simply execute their plan. 

Reasonable marketing budget

“Oh, we don’t have a budget set aside to run our marketing. We prefer organic. Yet, there is a timeline to deliver the ROIs set.” This is the best joke ever when it comes to marketing. This management of the company doesn’t understand how marketing actually works. The formula to deliver results from marketing is this; the shorter the timeline is to deliver the ROI, the more expensive the marketing is. Organic is okay, but this method requires time to showcase results. 

What are budgets for when it comes to marketing? In most cases, it will be for content distribution. Here, we are talking about ads be it for social media Google, influencers and PR. Budgets may be for content development too. Here, we may require to hire certain professionals such as specific videographers, bloggers and other content creators too. Another thing budget can be useful for is when we need to organise events. Without a budget, marketing growth can still happen but the result may not be that quick. 

Brand memorability

As a brand, we need to ensure that users remember us. Our brand needs to be in their head especially when they are considering purchasing or when they are ready to purchase something we have. If the users aren’t remembering our brand, they will remember somebody else’s brand—our competitor.

There are not many brands that wish to spend time focusing on making their brands memorability. They blatantly ignore this when they named their brands and their products. They also ignore this when they design their logo, their content, graphic elements and product packaging. They forget this when they created their value proposition and slogan for their brand. 

Users’ purchasing journey

Amateur brands, no matter big or small, usually skip this when they build their marketing strategy. It’s either they aren’t aware of such a thing, or they completely ignore it for some reason. Users purchasing journey is a journey being built for visitors who come to just visit your website to look around never thinking of actually buying something from you, but then somehow make a purchase.

There are also going to be users who don’t really buy but consider doing it. They sign-up for your newsletter and leave their email addresses behind so that they’re able to receive any direct communications from you right from the ‘horse’s mouth’. Building a proper user purchasing journey requires a website to be clean, easy to navigate and mobile-friendly. 


This is another element many brands forget when it comes to marketing. They never collect, compile and grow their users’ email database. They didn’t know that communicating with their users through email is free and direct. Perhaps they still prefer to spend more time with pay-to-play platforms such as social media and search engines, which involve money rather than a free platform like email.

Off-page SEO

While many brands carefully created their website and make sure it is optimised for search engines, they forgot about the other half of the story—the off-page SEO. The on-page SEO is all about making sure that our website is aligned with the search engine requirements so that it is going to be ranked on Google but this is just half of the story. The off-page SEO is all about building authority by growing backlinks to our website that come from other people’s websites.

This topic usually is missed during marketing strategy work in a company. To build backlinks, this is where the strategic content play and distribution channels will come into the picture. And the off-page SEO work is usually heavier than the on-page ones, as it involves interacting and persuading third parties to host our content on their sites. 

It’s easier to market good products than crap

A number of companies we came across do not actually have quality products and services, to begin with. There was one company that engaged us before, they own a food-delivery mobile app. Instead of building the app from the ground up, they purchased the off-the-shelve version and customised it accordingly. The result was terrible. To cut the story short, the app is not only half-cooked during the launching day thanks to much patching-up work, it had just too many bugs. As a result, the app received a lot of negative reviews from users. Yet, the company had the audacity to push the marketing campaign further in a big way. We decided to walk away from this and after 6 months, we heard the company is no longer around.  


These are the top ‘little things’ when it comes to marketing. Yes, despite being seen as little, small and insignificant, they play a key role and make all the difference when it comes to producing results. And your brand shouldn’t ignore them.

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