Build Defensible Marketing Assets

Mitchell Harper
Jul 1, 2016 · 3 min read

Pay Per Click is crack cocaine. Here’s how to “get off the pipe”.

In business there are two ways you can approach customer acquisition and build your business into something BIG and impactful.

First, you can spend a heap of money on customer acquisition channels like Facebook Ads and Google AdWords. These work, no doubt, but when you turn off the “money tap”, the leads dry up.

The second approach is to build what I call defensible assets. These don’t have an immediate, short-term pay off (or even a measurable ROI most times), but they are your constant, predictable, LIFE TIME source of leads and traffic when they start to take off.

Defensible assets are things like:

  • Hiring an SEO agency
  • Writing helpful guides and eBooks
  • Starting a podcast
  • Starting a publication on Medium
  • Recording and posting archives of live webinars
  • Free tools for your audience
  • Etc, etc, etc

None of these will make you $1 today. Or even tomorrow or probably not even this month. But they build up a base under your brand that competitors can never, ever disrupt — no matter how big their marketing budget.

Which company has nailed the approach around defensible assets to build a billion dollar business? The extreme example is Hubspot. But there are amazing companies all around you and me building defensible assets.

Defensible assets take time, aren’t cheap (they need sweat equity or cash to hire someone) and won’t show a return for a while, but if you plan to be in the game (and winning) in 5 years from now, they are crucial to not just your future success but also to get off the “pay per click treadmill” that so many businesses find themselves on.

So where do you start? If you’re already investing in PPC, email marketing, etc, aim to add just one defensible asset to your business each month:

These assets accrue in value over time. Not directly, but indirectly by acting as magnets for visitors, leads, customers and being shared.

Great businesses these days pre-sell with content and free resources. They don’t go in “naked” with just a sales rep pounding the phones cold.

Your defensible assets build immediate likability and trust with anyone that finds your brand. And believe me, when you invest in these defensible assets, you’ll have a much better chance of being found organically (read: for free) for years to come.

Don’t give up the PPC, but start to compliment it. That would be my final piece of advice.

Get my new book “SANE: How To Build Your Business Rapidly Without Going Insane” at 📚

Mitchell Harper

Written by

Co-founder BigCommerce & Insane Growth. 8 companies, $200M in total sales. Startup growth advisor 👉👉👉

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