How to be the Napoleon Bonaparte of Online Marketing

In the art of war, leaders must be daring, innovative, charismatic, and fearless. It is their job to motivate the masses and use their bold tactics to push them to success. One such leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, is a marveled war hero renowned for his risk-taking tactics. He demonstrated that by taking a step back and analyzing every situation. Even the smallest and seemingly weakest of groups can defeat large equipped armies. You might be thinking, War and Marketing? What do they have in common? And the answer is much more than you might think.

For decades, historians have looked to Napolean’s war strategies. They are known for inspiring leaders across all industries to think outside the box and lead with confidence. Applying Napolean’s war-tactics to your online marketing strategy, you can take your success rate up a few notches and bask in the glory of a perfectly planned and seamlessly executed campaign.


Don’t Let Fear Get the Best of You

Napolean once said, “There is no man more pusillanimous than I when I am planning a campaign. I purposely exaggerate all the dangers and all the calamities that the circumstances make possible. I am in a thoroughly painful state of agitation.

This does not keep me from looking quite serene in front of my entourage; I am like an unmarried girl laboring with child.” The key takeaway here is: one must work with their fears, not against them. Napolean was a master of tactical gambit, but, more importantly, human. The pressure of keeping an entire country and its people safe weighs heavy and is always in the back of one’s mind when going to war. It makes the “what ifs” start to run through one’s mind, followed by doubt.

The same happens with a marketing campaign. Though no ones’ lives are at risk, their contracts or jobs might be on the line. Taking Napolean’s advice into account, online marketers will do well to think of the worst things that can happen, taking precautions in case strategies start heading south. Knowing that an idea could go wrong and the entire campaign could flop helps push fears aside and leave room for innovation. If it doesn’t make you a little scared or nervous, is it worth fighting for?

Don’t Let Your Definition Define You

Napolean’s idea, “One bad general is worth two good ones,” has echoed through the voices of leaders throughout history. Putting too many leaders in one room is a cause for disaster. Not only does the ego get in the way but, the fact that each point of view and strategy opens up the playing field for more risk. It is difficult for opposing leaders to come to a final say, taking away the importance of preparing for battle. Not to say that leaders should be left alone. The point is, taking off on too many tangents weakens defenses.

From a marketing standpoint, sticking with things that define who you are as a brand is necessary.  It’s also crucial to let them know who you are not. Instead of deciding between multiple yet equally good ideas, online marketers should fuse ideas and create one concrete system. People and companies gravitate toward items they identify with, making the company brand and motto a vital part of a successful marketing campaign.

In order to find a spot in the market and expand, companies will do well to analyze their target audience and adapt the marketing message to their needs, creating content that future clients can’t help but click.


Be Prepared for Any and Everything

On the topic of risk, Napolean’s take on it goes: “If I always appear prepared, it is because before entering an undertaking, I have meditated long and have foreseen what might occur.” When those preparing for battle don’t take all risks into account, they’re in for a surprise. And, on the battlefield, a surprise is the last thing you want. Great leaders prepare for whatever comes their way, armed with multiple strategies on the fly to shift swiftly and carry on. Of course, this takes time at the drawing board, attempting to consider all things before even speaking a word to troops or generals.

Analyzing risks is a useful analogy that marketing gurus can take to heart. Knowing when to take chances and when to hold back is advantageous. Taking risk in marketing is necessary to stand out but, going too far could lead to failure or loss of a client or campaign. Analyzing risk and seeing where risk is beneficial provides an advantage over the competition, who might            not come so prepared. There is never such a thing in business as over-preparing, and going back to the drawing board multiple times will prove to be a success.


Don’t Make the Same Mistake Twice

Failure is inevitable. While it gets a negative reputation, leaders like Napolean know better. Napolean said, “it should not be believed that a march of three or four days in the wrong direction can be corrected by a countermarch. As a rule, this is to make two mistakes instead of one.” Failure is not defeat.

Failure is a chance to notice faults in strategies and develop ways to overcome them. It’s a chance to criticize the initial plan and change direction, not to give up. In war, giving up is considered defeat and crumbles the foundations of an army and often an entire country. That’s why war leaders like Napolean have to admit their defeat, coming back stronger and prepared for whatever comes their way.

Just like in war, in business, you can’t win them all. With each defeat, the pieces are picked up and reconstructed, allowing leaders to build no-fail systems. Not all things work as planned, nor are all outcomes predictable. When deciding to move in one direction or another with an online marketing campaign, one can never be too sure how things will turn out.

Though it’s confounding to win, it’s not always possible. Take the best and most successful online marketers out there as an example. One thing they all have in common is a list of failures before they reached their success. Instead of throwing in the towel, they took a good look at their strategy, cleaned it up, and started all over again, learning from their mistakes. One can commence by taking their weakest points and seeing how you can improve them.


Take Them by Surprise

Napolean deployed two strategic systems over and over again. Though seemingly simple, they led to his overtake and the defeat of armies both big and small. Both of Napoleon’s preferred strategic systems came to life far before his army stepped foot on the battleground, developed mostly behind closed doors and between the lines of military history books. His thought process would lead him to play out each option, thinking of the good, the bad, and the ugly. His go-to strategies were to split up armies larger than his own and take each smaller section by surprise, attacking far before they ever saw it coming.

The world of online marketing is much the same. The cut-throat competition often leaves competitors clawing their way to the top. With top-secret campaign strategies and ideas that push boundaries, each team has to plan its tactic. From release dates to multiple launchings and more, online marketers must do all that they possibly can to take their competition by surprise. Instead of throwing things together and just seeing how they all play out, the most successful online marketers will stop, think, plan, play it out, and patch up the kinks. The idea is to shoot for perfection, thinking of the opponent’s strategy and how to overtake it.

It Takes A Team to Fight A Battle

No war hero can win alone. Even if they have the best strategies and tactics, they are nothing without their troops. Brave, fearless men took to the battlefield confiding in Napolean to lead them to victory. Unlike some generals at that time, Napolean rode into war alongside his troops, watching the battle unfold and changing direction if his expertise saw fit. He knew that he was more useful on the battlefield and in-action than behind a desk waiting for word of the outcome. His will to risk his own life in battle inspired his army and gave them a sense of pride to fight for their country and freedom.

In the business world, leaders can hide behind their employees. Instead of going to battle with their team members, they send them out alone to fight. If results do not go as planned, leaders chew out employees and blame them for failure. What this does is creates separation within teams and causes team members to resent their fearless leader. Going into business meetings and presenting pitches right alongside your team, you’ll be able to see how the whole thing unfolds, stepping in if there is a need or taking notes on how to improve your team’s approach. A team is only as strong as its weakest link, and the sooner business leaders realize that the more triumphant they will be.

Lead your Team with Motivation and Purpose

Before battel, Napoleon prepped all soldiers with his pep talks. In an attempt to rouse soldiers, he once proclaimed, “Nay, fellow soldiers! I see you already eager to cry “To arms!” Inaction fatigues you! and days lost to glory are to you days lost to happiness. Let us, then, begone!

We have yet many forced marches to make, enemies to vanquish, laurels to gather, and injuries to avenge! Let those who have sharpened the poniards of civil war in France, who have pusillanimously assassinated our ministers, who have burned our vessels at Toulon—let them now tremble! The hour of vengeance has knolled! But let not the people be disquieted.” The idea was to remind his men what they were fighting for and give them purpose. At that very moment in time, thousands of men united with a common goal, a phenomenon that can move mountains.

Online marketing teams are much like courageous battalions. With one common goal in mind, they take to the battlefield, attempting to create the best and most effective campaign. To lead them from strategy to success is their fearless leader, providing them with a clear direction and end goal where all hope to end up together. Through the use of motivating speeches and constructive criticism, marketing teams too can move mountains. Together, they can create the most sought-after strategies talked about in business history books centuries from now.


All is Fair in Marketing and War

On the battlefield, anything goes. All rules are out the window, with everything considered fair. Perhaps the principal reason why Napolean’s tactics were successful is he knew that he aimed to stop at nothing when the going got tough. He had tricks up his sleeve for anything that came his way, keeping himself and his army safe. Because all is fair, a lot of thought goes into planning before revealing a strategy.

Marketing is a lot like going to war, with fierce competition between opposing parties as they try to outsmart one another. An effective campaign takes planning and a good look at one’s opponent. Anyone can become the Napolean of digital marketing by following his examples of successful war tactics. It’s all about innovation and planning, executing decisions without fear, and adapting to anything that comes your way.