The thought of having to create several “marketing campaigns” each year as a small business owner can be overwhelming.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be.

In fact, when it comes to marketing your small business, sometimes less is more. Running a few big campaigns a year versus many smaller ones can have a greater impact.

During this year’s FutureM conference in Boston, I attended Harvard Business Administration Professor, Anita Elberse’s keynote where she discussed her new book, Blockbusters. The key take away from her presentation was about building a business around big “blockbuster bets” to achieve long-term success, similar to the way the entertainment industry has framed their business model for decades.

“The notion of smaller bets being safer is a myth.”

Professor Elberse noted in her keynote, “You don’t win in the long tail category.” A cautious strategy of spreading out your overall investment into a large amount of projects is likely to have a mediocre result. Yes, big bets are risky, but when successfully executed, they yield a much higher return than several safer, smaller bets. This same idea can be applied to your yearly small business marketing campaigns, content, or social media strategy. By focusing a significant percent of your resources, time, effort, and money, on two large campaigns a year, or likewise two social media channels, you will on average have a higher success rate.

How can you successfully execute a big bet?

  • Take the time to determine what your customers actually want.
  • Develop a well-thought-out strategy from start to finish.
  • Determine what your goals are and what you will measure to determine the success of your goals.
  • Let everyone involved in your business (employees, family etc.) in on the details and importance of your campaign.
  • Map out all of the ways you can communication your campaign — email, social media, signage in your store, your website, a local newspaper or radio ad.

Big bets become self-fulfilling prophecies. When you decide on your “big-risk” marketing campaign, the effort you put into making it a success will be emulated in the way the campaign is executed.

Starting your own business was most likely a big bet for you. Embrace that same risk when it come to marketing your small business, and make a few huge marketing bets a year.

What big bets have you made lately? Tell me about them below.