From search to social, Periscope to Pinterest, the list of marketing channels is seemingly endless. Which marketing paths should you follow?

The good news for marketers? There are literally hundreds of marketing tactics to choose from. The bad news? There are literally hundreds of marketing tactics to choose from.

So how do you choose? There are two very different schools of thought.

Wall first, spaghetti second.

Begin by understanding where your target customers will most likely buy your product or service.

That is what the founders of Sock 101 did. Co-founder Jason Grill who was always in a suit and tie for work, realized there was one accessory that was too often overlooked: socks. "Men who like to dress well and are looking for ways to be step up their style should be wearing colorful socks," Grill said. He talked to potential customers and realized men wanted a way to show their trendy side whether in the board room or bar for happy hour.

The company created individual socks and a 'Sock of the Month' club. The problem was figuring out how to get the message to the right audience. Co-founder Lea Bailes analyzed his target consumer and realized Facebook and email were two effective channels. At a recent panel discussion, he said, "We doubled down on Facebook and email and after lots of testing, we are very happy with our conversion rates."

In this case, Bailes really understood his wall--where his customers were spending time--before executing the spaghetti toss.

If you can clearly articulate where your audience is going to learn about your product or service, you will be well on your way to a successful marketing campaign.

Spaghetti first, wall second--but with minimum splatter

Sometimes a classic audience-driven approach doesn't work. Take Bo Fishback, CEO of Zaarly, a marketplace for consumers to find local business services such as housecleaners, handymen and plumbers. What makes Zaarly different is that it vets its suppliers in a more rigorous way than most of the competition. Zaarly does an intensive background check on businesses, which means higher quality labor for users.

The company launches by city. An astute marketer, Fishback began by taking a consumer--driven approach to marketing. Unfortunately, nothing worked.

His solution? His team identified 60+ marketing tactics they could possibly employ in a new market, and they worked the list one by one. "We systematically went through the list...the first ten tactics, we thought for sure would resonate," Fishback said. "But none of them did. So we methodically went down the list until we found marketing tactics that worked." These ideas were in many cases non-intuitive such as unique versions of digital marketing and radio.

So it is true, every once in a while, throwing spaghetti at the wall does work. But you do it one strand at a time, methodically.

The moral of the story? Throw (and carb load) wisely.