Compounding Marketing Defects

Michelle Tresemer
4 min readAug 17, 2021


What do compounding defects have to do with marketing?

Let’s learn the concept of “compounding defects.” This is a construction term, but it applies to marketing, too.

In short, if your foundation has a small defect, it might not seem like a big deal. But, as the building gets taller, that defect compounds.

By the time you build to the upper floors, that small error or misalignment suddenly means you have a very real problem on your hands. What started out as an inch off suddenly turns into a few feet.

We see a lot of clients get stuck in the “doing” rather than making sure all tactics are strategic. If leadership and staff aren’t constantly checking to make sure every task ties back to the strategy, you could start experiencing compounding defects.

Think of it like the telephone game. Your strategy starts off clear and brilliant. But a year or two later, you forget why you’re spending 10 hours a week posting on Facebook. Or why you’re going to the same set of trade shows year after year. Before you know it, you’re spending a lot of time on tactics that don’t matter. This, my friends, is compounding defects. This is how that one post on Facebook turned into 10 hours a week posting to Facebook. It wasn’t strategic. It was just a one-off action that grew.

Examples of marketing foundation defects

Take content marketing as one small example.

If your brand messaging is defective, then you may waste years creating content around the wrong concepts. Once you realize your error, it’s like trying to right the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You must start from the ground up, and that can be a slow and painful process.

We see compounding defects happen across all marketing channels. Here are a few more examples:

Common defect we see: You don’t have processes in place to check the accuracy of data coming into your CRM.

What happens when the defect compounds?

  • You end up with an unusable database of contacts.
  • You can’t email them because you’re not sure how they got on your list.
  • You can’t include mail merge fields because there are too many records with fake fields.
  • You’re worried you have too many duplicates of people who registered with multiple email addresses and don’t want to get dinged for a high % of unsubscribes.

The fix: Spending just an hour a month making sure the data is working for you would solve these issues. Sometimes it takes even less than that. It’s like keeping your house tidy.

Common defect we see: Posting on all social networks with no purpose or strategy.

What happens when the defect compounds?

  • You end up spending 10+ hours a month posting on all social networks regardless of whether that is where your target market is.
  • Because nothing is being tracked, you can’t justify stopping. You keep posting. And posting. And posting.

The fix: Take 30 minutes to figure out where your target market spends their time online and set up tracking. This could be as simple as creating a report in Google Analytics showing form submissions from social networks. A social strategy doesn’t have to be complex. Here’s a simple three-part social strategy template you can steal to get you started:

Do you see how easy it is to come up with examples of how one little crack in your foundation can turn into a lot of wasted time and money?

  1. Our primary target market, ABC, uses X social network the most.
  2. Our primary target market, ABC, prefers [tips, bulleted lists, how-to videos, stories, case studies] kinds of content; we will focus on producing those kinds of posts for the next three months and adjust based on data.
  3. Our goal for this quarter is X downloads from X social network. It is measured via Google Analytics and the form submissions for our lead gen downloads.

What are marketing defects costing you?

Think of all the blog posts and social posts, slide decks, presentations, data sheets, ad campaigns, webinars, and so much more that was all built around the wrong brand message. Add that up and you get the cost of not having solid marketing foundations. And that’s just if your brand message has defects.

Check out the 5 marketing foundation cracks we see the most. Think about how these cracks, or defects, get so much worse over time. Before you do a big push to scale your business, we recommend making sure your marketing foundations are solid or you’ll pay the price in a big way.

Originally published at on August 17, 2021.



Michelle Tresemer

B2B Marketing Consultant | Guiding B2Bs to Get Control of their Marketing