Minimalist Marketing: Keep Your Learning Diet Simple

Posted on April 12th 2010

cartoon by @gapingvoid

cartoon by @gapingvoid

Do any of the following scenarios apply to you?

1. You spend too much time on social media apps like Twitter and Facebook, telling yourself that you are “learning” from your community. When in fact, you are just horsing around, or broadcasting one-way…

2. Under the guise of research and learning, you read too many books, most of which don't really apply to you, or what you do.

3. Or more likely, you read a lot of books with the intention of learning, and do not implement ANYTHING that you learn.

4. You subscribe to 250 blogs in your RSS reader, telling yourself that you need to know what others in your space are doing. And you spend hours sifting through clutter and don't spend enough time actually reading, or learning.

Yeah. Me too.

DISCLOSURE: Let me make this clear. I am NOT suggesting that you stop reading — and learning — to improve your craft. I am suggesting you make more careful choices about what you read — and then take steps to implement things you learn — things that will have measurable impact.

In fact, you are a fool NOT to read more. Learn more. And apply what you learn. I just think too many of us do not practice good habits when we seek to learn (In fact, I could make the point that practicing minimalist marketing should free up valuable time to learn more…).

So, here are a few of my ideas on ways to simplify your learning, and get more out of the time investment:

1. Limit the amount of industry blogs you follow on your RSS reader. A lot of them say the same things. Winnow your list down to the ones that really teach, engage their community, and make you think. Perfectly cool to subscribe to “new” blogs to check them out, but if they don't add any value, remove them. I also make it a practice to schedule time each day to review feeds on my RSS. Waiting several days and having to scan through hundreds and hundreds of new feeds isn't conducive to productive time.

2. Cut down the amount of books you read. Wow, this is hard. And I don't like to suggest reading less. I just want you to read smarter. These days, it is easy to get online reviews of books — enabling you to find the books that really seem to make a difference.

3. When engaged on the social web, ONLY spend time focused on your two marketing goals: initiating conversation with the right people (prospects, customers, referral partners), AND sharing other people's content.

4. When you do read a book with the intention of learning something to improve your craft, make a conscious effort to do whatever it takes to record new ideas to implement later: make notes in the margins, highlight key phrases, record audio notes, or do what I did once, which was take a photo of a page I wanted to remember…

5. And then implement them! I mean, really. What's the point of investing all that time and energy?

6. Make careful decisions about who you network with face-to-face. I have a passion for meeting people at an event, and then suggesting a meeting over coffee to explore synergies. Sometimes these coffees lead to business, new referral partners, or can just be solid learning experiences. But over the years, I have had a lot of pleasant coffees that while the conversation was enjoyable, it didn't result in any value (for my marketing learning). With my limited time, I have to be more selective with whom I spend time with. You should do the same.

Remember, the goal of minimalist marketing is to simplify, to cut away the clutter so that you can focus on the core work that matters, and leads to more profits. This includes the learning you do…

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Do you have any other ideas?

ToddSchnick1

Todd Schnick

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Comments

MissyJensen
Posted on April 13th 2010 at 3:32AM
What a useful and helpful post Todd.  You don't even want to know how many unread posts are sitting in my RSS reader right now...so I'm taking what I've read here and putting into action!  I'm slimming down on RSS feeds to ensure I'm actually reading good content that I can implement.  (No worries...SMT will definitely stay on my list!)

Thankfully I only have one book on my nightstand ("Inbound Marketing" by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah) so no need to cut down there.  

Look forward to other great content by you and Social Media Today.  Thanks!

Missy
TarahFeinberg
Posted on April 13th 2010 at 8:49PM
Great post. I think it's worth mentioning that Evernote is an incredibly valuable tool for clipping websites (or portions), snapping photos which become searchable through OCR after being synced with the server, and other useful research/learning applications. It's made me a lot more efficient and has helped me to remember the things that are really important when I come across them. http://www.evernote.com

@tarahfo
AndrewSilberman
Posted on April 14th 2010 at 3:03AM
I agree, Tarah--in fact, I JUST now clipped a website with Evernote. As long as they keep fixing the bugs that come up quite often, I'll be an Evernote fan for life.
TarahFeinberg
Posted on April 14th 2010 at 1:11PM
Yeah, Evernote seems to be updating pretty regularly on all the platforms I use (Chrome, desktop, iPhone).
andreagarcia
Posted on April 16th 2010 at 5:10PM
minimalism, love the concept and is very true. It was happening to me as well, but then I slowed down and started choosing what to read. This article has reminded me all over again to choose what to read because after a while, you forget and start to indulge in "research" all over again and it becomes overwhelming. 
NikkiMeans
Posted on April 16th 2010 at 5:20PM
I agree 100%.  There is a plethora of information online from tips, to tools, to graphics, to top 10 lists, etc. etc. I bookmark, read, bookmark, read, and bookmark some more. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and spend more time reading than I ever intended. I wish I could find 5 good sites and focus solely on those, but then something new always catches my eye.