Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Perspective, Patience And Pacing: Keys To A Lot More Than Marketing
By Joe Marchese
Since long before the Internet was invented, it has been said that the difference between success and failure can be a matter of perspective. This is as true on the World Wide Web as it has been in the real world. Was something a failure or a learning experience? Depends on your perspective. With the right perspective, it's possible to have the patience, and patience is key to success on the Web,as Seth Godin points out so effectively and concisely in "The secret of the web (hint: it's a virtue)"
Seth gives some great examples to help provide some perspective:
"Google was a very good search engine for two years before you started using it.
The iPod was a dud."
And some prime examples of what a lack of perspective can lead to:
"The trap: Use all your money to build a fancy website and leave no money or patience for the hundred revisions you'll need to do.
The trap: read the tech blogs and fall in love with the bleeding-edge hip sites and lose focus on the long-term players that deliver real value.
The trap: sprint all day and run out of energy before the marathon even starts."
Perspective leads to patience. And patience leads to pacing. If you've ever competed in anything, or if you're watching the Olympics, you know the importance of pacing. Perspective, patience and pacing; these concepts couldn't be more important when it comes to marketing on the Web, especially on the social Web.
First, have a little perspective on what your role is, or realistically could be, in people's lives on the Web. Don't start with a strategy that makes you the center of people's online worlds or one that changes the way people use the Web. Look for how you can be a part of how people already use the Web, or at least how people want to use the Web but can't. Understand that "viral" isn't a strategy and there is no such thing as "free media." Sustained success comes from working hard and working smart (unless you are hiding Will Farrell and a very funny toddler in your back pocket).
Once you have the proper perspective, be prepared to have patience. Be prepared to fail. But have the perspective to realize that failing in the short run is only truly wasted effort if you don't learn from it for the next time. It's only by persevering against trials that others would not that you gain an advantage in any industry. Wielding the Web effectively as a tool to strengthen the bond between your brand and consumers is no different. There's no reason to think that wildly shifting strategy is going to solve your problems. If you believe in the idea, have the patience to see it through.
Finally, pace yourself. All the perspective and patience in the world won't allow you to continue if you don't have the necessary resources. The cliché goes: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. I've seen it described a lot of ways, but I think Shona Brown and Kathleen Eisenhardt do an amazing job of describing the need for quick iterative strategy in my favorite business strategy book "Competing on the Edge." The book uses the example of NASA's success in shifting strategy from occasional massively expensive missions, to more nimble, lower cost missions that they could run more frequently. What does this mean for you on the Web? Don't spend all of your money building what you think people want, because then you won't have any money left to build what people will tell you they actually want. Marketers: don't spend all that money on a destination site if you haven't started the dialogue first.
How do you see perspective, patience and pacing leading to success on the Web, in marketing or otherwise?
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Joe Marchese is President of socialvibe.
Online Spin for Tuesday, August 12, 2008: