Singlemindedness and the Two Types of Investors

  • Date 20th July 2021
  • Author Rob Mills
Singlemindedness and the Two Types of Investors

Staying singleminded is a discipline we often talk about in advertising and marketing. What’s your brand’s U.S.P.? Does the brief have a strong S.M.P.? And then of course there’s everyone’s favourite – the K.I.S.S. principle.

But how does singlemindedness play out for the modern marketer? Marketers frequently find themselves managing some of their business’s most disparate investments – from seasonal tactical promotions developed to drive short-term returns to multi-year digital transformation projects that may not see a return until well down the track. And it’s not hard to imagine that when immersed in one, the other will suffer.

The father of value investing, Benjamin Graham, talked about the two types of investors in his 1949 book, “The Intelligent Investor”; the active investor and the defensive investor. The active/enterprising investor is likely to put lots of time and effort into trying to beat the market at a given (shorter) period of time. Whereas the passive/defensive investor is more concerned about taking confident actions that will pay off over the long term. Both types can be successful, but very rarely do the two approaches cross over.

Now reflect on your present work priorities, and consider what type of investor that makes you. Short-term (tactical/campaign-driven), or long-term (brand building/transformational)? But here’s the challenge – while each type of investor can ultimately be successful, I believe the modern marketer has to be both.

If you’re currently being active and enterprising, are you considering how you can further align your tactical activity with any longer-term branding or transformation work? Or if you’re in defensive mode, focusing more on a long term project, how can you ensure your company’s active endeavours ladder up to better support your bigger objectives?

Working in the fast paced and results-driven world of marketing and advertising, it can be easy to become fixated on deceptive objectives, such as historical delivery metrics or isolated dates. Although these aren’t inherently bad (they can be important components of successful activity), they may contribute to a ‘launch and completion’ mentality. At AFFINITY, we keep outcomes at the centre of our approach to helping clients align their short-term activity with their long-term business goals. Even simple things, like shifting company vocabulary from campaigns to initiatives, helps remind us that activity co-exists with other operations, and should contribute to collective business goals. After all, only through alignment on a shared long-term outcome can you properly dedicate resources into multiple approaches simultaneously. 

If you’re struggling to align or focus on your short- and long-term marketing activity, remember AFFINITY is here to help. Reach out at