How many meetings have you been in that have gone from a well-rehearsed presentation highlighting company wins, to a long table of dejected faces? This typically takes place when the conversation shifts to the future state of digital marketing. The term "Social Media" is usually the preferred catalyst.
Next, comes a wave of unsolicited emotionally charged rants. The overall theme typically centers around why their business is the exception to the rule and how they don't need millennials to buy their product. You might even hear the word "fad" thrown around.
It's baffling how much energy companies are willing to spend compiling these lengthy excuses and justifications. If only they applied a portion of that energy into a new marketing strategy or a business plan, they might at least be traveling on the same road as their competitors.
My advice: stop reacting to change and start anticipating it.
Hand Over the Wheel
I believe it all boils down to a fear of losing control. We hate the thought of our great ideas going unnoticed or god forbid someone else taking the wheel. In an effort to secure our significance we choose tailgating the competition with a white knuckled death grip uncertain of the next turn.
If you don't do something exceptionally well then it might be time to delegate it to someone who does. Focus on your strong points. If navigating through the current digital landscape is not your thing, hire someone who knows it like the back of their hand. It doesn't make sense for the same people in your company who have spent the majority of their careers in print or outdoor advertising to migrate over to digital and expect the same results.
Ear to the Ground
Business leaders often can't hear due to the fact that they just keep talking about themselves and their own company. They talk about past accomplishments, how they built their businesses from nothing, and why they are so successful!
We need to take more opportunities to listen to the outside world. Listening will help you and your business see things in a different light. Maybe you're completely missing something that could add huge value to your company. Take a step back and listen.
Put your ear to the ground and do these 3 things in 2017:
- Read at least 5 books (One I recommend: Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday)
- Listen to one podcast religiously (One I recommend: The Tim Ferriss Experience)
- Follow a new blog (One I recommend: Seth Godin)
The insights you gain from these resources will quickly add up providing you with the knowledge base needed to start anticipating changes before your competitors.
"You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late fees at the public library."
Let Data Do the Driving
In our modern ecosystem, every decision must be backed with data. Once we identify the trends and key metrics, we can put the pedal to the metal, but don't allow mere passion or sentimentality steer the ship. Without the right numbers, you may be burning energy and funds at a rapid rate.
But, what numbers should you be looking at? Plenty of leaders are focusing on the wrong numbers. The number of views of a blog post, open rates of emails, and social media impressions are all great "glamor" statistics, but do they really provide ROI? Unfortunately, the answer is often no. But, many marketers still focus on those stats because they look great.
Looking great won't keep your business afloat.
Rather than just the raw numbers, look deeper at conversions. Who is converting to a prospect, to a lead, or to a customer? Your blog post might get 10,000 views, but has it gotten you any new leads? If not, adjust. Your email may get opened 100% of the time, but is it leading to more sales? If not, adjust. Your social media posts might get tons of impressions, but is it leading to new prospects? If not, adjust.
The point is, look deep at your data to uncover the truth. Don't just settle by looking at the glamor statistics. Let the real data do the driving for your marketing decisions.
- Drive it like you stole it!