- September 20, 2017
- Posted by: Robert Rose
- Categories: Business Transformation, Content Strategy
Many of us feel pressured to get onto the newest channels or the most advanced software platforms. Do you have your own chatbot yet? If you don’t, chances are this discussion is coming to your weekly meeting soon.
Do we really need all these bright, shiny objects? Maybe. What we don’t need is to find ourselves dazzled by the new.
About a month ago, I was working with a client that had created an active, engaged customer community built around a blog with robust discussion related to technical issues in their space and education in their industry. An agency had come in and concluded that the technology was old and that they should migrate from their old platform to a private group on one of the social channels, dividing the site into a shiny (and redesigned) editorial experience and the conversation, which would be more optimally placed for SEO. The agency summed up its rationale in the title to their pitch deck: How Company X Should Become More Omnichannel and Go Where the Audience Is.
Go where the audience is? My client already had the audience. This company had accomplished one of the single hardest things to do in marketing: building a loyal, trusting audience on its own strategic content platform. It had built the flame, and the moths had come. The audience was where the company was. And here was the new agency saying, “Fire is so 2005. Put out your fire, and go out into the dark with a flashlight to find out other moths.”
That agency was dazzled by the new. Their pitch belongs in the same file as my gum wrapper.
I showed my client the website for Berkshire Hathaway, the #4 company on the Fortune 500. The site looks like it came out of 1996. I showed them the Twitter page for Apple (yes that Apple). Apple has never tweeted. I showed them – or rather didn’t show them – the social media presence for Trader Joe’s, one of the fastest growing grocery stories in the country. I couldn’t link to their social profiles because they don’t have any.
Those companies are not dazzled by the new.
I’m reminded of the isolated tribes, such as the Sentinelese, who live on an island off the coast of India. They’ve had no exposure to modern technology or modern anything. They’ve never even developed agriculture; they still hunt and gather as our ancestors did 10,000 years ago. Any attempt to contact them, either on purpose or by accident, has been met with a rain of arrows and rocks toward the oncoming boats – the Stone Age version of “Get off my lawn.”
The Sentinelese are not dazzled by the new.
Discovering that leading companies can thrive without using all the latest social media tools is stunning, a bit like discovering that the Sentinelese have made it through the millennia with nothing more sophisticated than bows and arrows. The difference is that these companies know what they’re doing without. They’ve made a choice. They’re aware of the modern marketer’s measurement scale; they just don’t measure themselves by it.
I’m not saying that successful businesses should stop trying new things. I am saying that it’s easy to be dazzled by bright, shiny technologies and approaches. Before you go chasing them, put on your strategy shades. They’ll cut down on the glare.