“Write something about sustainable marketing,” she said. The voice of Madam Lash boomed across the boardroom table. Jack in the box’s answer to Margaret Thatcher was instructing me in the direction of this week’s blog and let me tell you when she speaks I obey.

And so I began looking for the perfect example to demonstrate exactly why today’s marketing rules very often impede sustainability and create costly continuance in unnecessary fees. Come the end of the week and I was struggling – not so much that examples don’t exist but the few that do lack real clarity. I was in trouble. That is until I met someone who delivered me the Christmas turkey on a plate complete with stuffing.

In proudly explaining his current marketing strategy he produced the perfect scenario. He had employed an internet company to ensure his name was in the first five of the Google page… and they had succeeded. I didn’t have the heart to tell him the real truth because I’m a nice guy, but I’m going to let you in on a blinding flash of the obvious.

When you are in the first five on a Google page you are right there with all your competitors. You’ve paid all that money to be one of the pack – sure you may be on the top but you’ve just exposed your potential prospects to every other Son of a Mary they didn’t know existed before. And if that, boys and girls is sustainable I’ll plat banjo at the next Grand Final. It’s not sustainable because you have to keep feeding the beast to ensure you stay in the top five – with the rest of the competitors.

So what is sustainable marketing in this case?

First forget key words, clever tricks and yellow page strategies, they are developed to ensure you become dependent on them. Next consider what would that same client do if he knew you, knew what you stood for, loved your brand and was already part way to trusting you. Critical evaluation will tell you he’d go to Google and search your name and find you, away from your competition, industry isolated and screaming, “pick me! pick me!”

Sustainable marketing is about building a brand, making yourself obvious, screaming out who you are, telling the world about yourself, not hiding away in the Google search engine with the rest of your competitors.

For all the hype about SEO there is really no replacement for brand building. It’s sustainable, it’s long term and in the long haul it’ll save you a ton of money. And if you need marketing advice don’t Google ‘marketing’, search for Jack in the box and discover sustainability.