Know Thy Self
Sometimes I feel like marketing can be a lot like the latest diet fad. You know, those diet fads like the Atkins Diet that prescribe one way of eating and promise incredible results? If you tell me that I could eat steak and bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner, AND it would be good for my health I would be sold because I’d want to believe you. And many people were because for some people, it worked. But for most people, it didn’t. Until the next fad came out and promised the same results through a different medium and reinvigorated our hope for a simple, new, solution.
Can you see the correlation?
Marketers seem to always be promoting the same sort of ‘magic’ solutions for your business; big data will change how you do business. If you post three times a day on Facebook at special times your sales will grow. Learn all the new Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tricks to convert your web traffic into dollar bills today! They are essentially the same thing, offering simple, easy solutions to complex and often unique problems.
But why does it work?
I would argue it works for a few reasons
- Science – They have a compelling reason, which is often backed up in half-truths that seems to make sense. They have examples of people it DID work for as well, strengthening their case. ‘Well, if I post in the morning when people are sitting down at their desks for work, maybe I’ll get better traction on my posts.’ The truth? There are better times to get traction on your posts than others, and Facebook lets you know these insights inside their analytics platform. What else is true? If your content sucks, no one cares.
- Hope – We want to believe that it could work. It’s the same reason that many of us purchase lottery tickets; because there is a chance it might be us [chants* “one of us, one of us”]. This is true, and if you’re not playing the game, there’s no chance you’re going to hit it big with a video that happens to go viral. But how often does this work? Almost never, so for the sake of time and money lets just assume it will never work.
- Effort – We as humans love an easy out. If I was to tell you that you could hit it big by doing this one behaviour once or twice, as opposed to committing 10 hours a day for 15 years, you’d probably take your chances on the home run idea, because you don’t have the time, drive, or maybe the commitment to make it happen over 15 years even if there was a 100% chance you’d succeed!
Now how do we combat this problem?
Know thy self.
Your business is almost 100% different from another person’s business, so to assume that by following some 10-point plan that worked for their business you’ll reap the same results is insane. Yes, there are best practices and strategies that are tried and true, but fads are not often these things.
We need to be honest with ourselves and know what our limits are, what our goals are, and what we’re willing to do. If you’re not willing to put in 15 hours a day that’s ok. If you have decided that your work life balance is more important to you than climbing the corporate ladder, then stick to that. If you know you don’t have the drive to manage and facilitate your business’ social media, marketing, accounting, etc, then outsource it and find a professional who will do it for you.
Don’t buy into the next fad. I know social media is hailed as the next great thing, but it might not be what your business needs or can afford in time to to execute well.
Know what you want to achieve, know what you’re able/willing to do and then fill in the holes with great partners and solutions. Your best defence against the hype is knowing who you are and what you can actually provide to your business.