When it comes to the marketing landscape, it's easy to get overwhelmed when trying to keep up with all of the latest trends, opportunities and hype. While certainly exciting, with every new app, feature or algorithm change, there's yet another thing to keep track of for your marketing campaigns.

Yet, according to bestselling author and marketing icon, Seth Godin, your marketing efforts and measuring the effectiveness of those efforts doesn't need to be as complicated as it probably is.

Recently, while on the Self Made Man podcast promoting his latest book (This Is Marketing), Godin was asked how entrepreneurs should measure the effectiveness of their marketing today. His response was simpler than one might expect, but powerful nonetheless.

He said you need to answer this question:

"If your brand were to disappear tomorrow, who would truly miss you? ...If your podcast didn't go live on its scheduled day, how many people would you hear from?"

This is what separates the influential, high-impact brands from the forgettable ones. According to Godin, if no one would care that you disappeared tomorrow, then you're replaceable and need to readjust your approach to marketing and branding. All other measurements are secondary.

Now, here's how you can apply this principle to your own business in 2019.

How to apply this information.

1. Focus on community, not only customers.

Because of the unprecedented level of accessibility in business today, it's more difficult than ever before to create a product or service which contains a feature, or benefit, a competitor couldn't also provide to consumers. 

The way you overcome this obstacle is simple. Build something money or products can't get you: a genuine connection with your customers, or community. 

To get started creating a community surrounding your brand, consider doing one or all of the following in the coming year:

  • Host local events to bring your customers together.
  • Begin to sell high-quality, branded merchandise your most loyal customers can purchase and wear.
  • Make your company purpose-driven as opposed to only profit-driven.
  • Create kick-ass content your audience can consume on a regular basis.
  • Create a Facebook Group or Slack channel where you can discuss topics relevant to your industry with your customers.

However you choose to build community, the most important thing to remember is always try to facilitate customer-to-customer interactions. You as an individual or company can only do so much. As a result, your community needs to rely on word-of-mouth marketing to grow to a respectable level.

2. Narrow your audience.

In the same podcast interview, Godin went against the current sentiment of many marketers (who focus on reaching the masses) by saying, "What actually works in marketing is setting up shop and staying there. Not finding new people for your product, but finding new products for your people."

Today, brands have the luxury of billions of people being connected online. 

The result? The ability for even the most niche businesses to thrive. The days of generic TV ads speaking to everyone and their dog around the globe are long gone. Nowadays, you have the ability, and privilege, to speak directly to your core audience, so take advantage of it.

To start, first determine who your target audience is, develop buyer personas based on that audience, then market specifically to them. Solve their problems and answer their questions. By doing so, you'll build their trust, and eventually their hard-earned money.

3. Don't be everywhere online.

In the same way you don't need to speak to everyone within your marketing messaging, you also don't need to be everywhere online. Stop listening to everything you read or hear. The truth is you don't need to be active on every single social media channel to develop a successful brand and community.

Instead, you've only got to be where your core audience is. If your primary customers are middle-aged mothers, then why the hell would you need to be on Reddit or Snapchat? If your primary audience are Gen Z gamers, why would you spend all your budget on Facebook ads?

Take a second to relax and pump the brakes. Unless it's in-line with what your customers are looking for, spreading yourself thin across the online landscape will do more harm than good for your campaigns. 

As an entrepreneur, you already have a thousand and one things to worry about. Don't let marketing fads be one of them. This year, focus instead on building an authentic, deep connection with your core audience. Add value to their lives in every way you can, and over time, the return will be huge. Best of luck.