Think big but act small. Entrepreneurs and marketers are dreamers by nature. But dreams without a plan are just dreams.
As a part of my Marketing Strategy Series, I’m talking with my fellow marketing pros at the top of their game to give entrepreneurs and marketers an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business or your career. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Maria Dykstra.
Maria Dykstra is an author, speaker, and technology entrepreneur. She is a Microsoft veteran and a co-founder of Tredigital. Dykstra spent more than 18 years working with Fortune 100 and emerging brands and serves as an advisor and board member for several startups and women leadership organizations.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Think big but act small. Entrepreneurs and marketers are dreamers by nature. But dreams without a plan are just dreams. Similarly, a plan filled with random “to-do” activities will only lead to a major burnout with no results to show for all the action.
The path to success is via setting a strategic vision, then breaking it down into achievable, measurable, interconnected tasks and executing daily.
Consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. Where do you see the future of marketing headed?
We can talk about personalization, automation, globalization, and other big trends in marketing. Instead, I will quote one of the most amazing sales executives I’ve ever worked with.
“I may not like the type of content that we are creating, but it’s not about me. It is all about what the consumer wants”.
Content that resonates with the consumer at the right time in the right place on a device of their choice is the future of marketing. It can be an empowerment message similar to the Like a Girl campaign or a simple, no-brainer message designed to entertain and provide a much-needed break from the anxiety created by mass media. This is exactly why Tik Tok’s popularity is exploding.
Can you please tell us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started?
- “No” is a complete sentence. Early in my career, I used to say “yes” to too many things. Later, I learned to say “no”, but I felt like I needed to provide reasons. But when you are clear on your priorities, just saying “no” is enough.
- Focus on “what” and find the right “who”. I can achieve more by focusing on my strengths and outsourcing the other areas. My planning process always starts with aligning the strategic tasks with the right people to execute.
- You do not get “A” for effort. Working hard and knocking things off your “to-do” list means nothing. In the entrepreneurship world, if you fail to deliver results, you do not get paid.
- Work-life balance is a myth. I frequently work 18-hour days, so I can take some time off. The key is to focus on the High Impact Activities in both work and your personal life and to be 100% present while doing each.
- Get out of your head. This applies to those “little voices” that fill us with fear of failure as well as the physical action of organizing thoughts and tasks on paper to free up capacity to think, plan and be strategic.
One more question: What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
Neil Patel shares great actionable content in small digestible bites. Each episode is only about 5–7 minutes, but it always gives you a tangible piece of advice that you can implement right away.
In his Smart Passive Income podcast, Pat Flynn tells you how to create ongoing revenue streams from podcasting to affiliate marketing to creating online courses. Passive Income provides a great foundation for many businesses as it gives us a much-needed safety net when other revenue streams fluctuate.
The ONE Thing by Gary Keller is a quick read with simple but powerful advice: find that ONE thing that delivers exceptional results.
Thank you so much for sharing these fantastic insights!