by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded
I’ve notice that many marketers always seem to be looking for the next frontier. It’s like they are on a constant hunt for the new silver bullet or the next Google. Unfortunately, they barely understand the current marketing landscape before they are off looking to the next big wave. I believe it’s out of paranoia. Many seem afraid that they’ll be left behind or want to be seen as a marketing pioneer. Many do it because “everyone else is doing it.” Even from childhood, that line of reasoning rarely paid off. One of the things that fear does, is makes you act and react irrationally. It causes you to make mistakes because you act before you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Fear clouds judgement.
Many say the next game changer is mobile. That could be, but not many completely understand how to integrate the current marketing tools that are available now (facebook, twitter, blogging, Linkedin, SEO, PPC, etc.) let alone how to integrate their online marketing and social media with their traditional marketing. Most don’t even know when to use what and to what end. It’s like using your brand new band saw to hammer in some nails to hang your pictures. Some believe that online is the ONLY way to go. Some believe that social media is the holy grail. Others believe the coming of the mobile market is the next messiah. And many believe that we shouldn’t even bother with anything else because Google owns it all and Larry and Sergey are gods incarnate. They may be messiahs, (I’m not privy to any special spiritual messages.), but here are two things you should not forget:
Technology is the servant to creativity not the other way around – It is the unique ability to create and invent that keeps humans a step ahead of computers. Even the gods of Google will agree with this. This line of thinking is what they’ve built their empire on. Think for yourself and use your mind. This is how you discover better ways of doing things. Don’t let technology think for you. Artificial intelligence is based on learning the past, not creating or inventing. The point is, all marketers have the same tools at their disposal. It’s the creative approach that makes you unique. The ability to harness the power of cold technology and infuse it with real, authentic emotion that connects with your customers is what makes you beloved, not the technology itself. Don’t make your brand about the technology. If you do, then you’ll be irrevelant in about 6 months. Your brand is about emotion, something that machines can’t calculate.
Marketing principles remain true regardless of form – Too many believe in the myth that since the technology is different, the core tenants of marketing no longer applies. Just because the tools in building a skyscraper has advanced, it doesn’t mean that they abandon the underlying concepts of building a sound, enduring structure. Applied physics remain true. Marketers must understand the tools available, what the strengths are, what the short comings are, and when to use what. Not everything is appropriate for everyone. Each marketplace has it own unique set of challenges, advantages, and competitive landscape to deal with. Don’t fall for the idea that since you are participating in every piece of new media available that you are somehow more advanced than your competitors. Again, think for yourself, don’t let technology think for you. If you do let the allure of the newest “shinny object” distract you, you end up being a slave to technology.
My suggestion is to quit looking for the next savior, but instead, understand what you’ve got and learn how to use it. A samurai sword in the hands of a novice is just a sword. That same sword in the hands of a true samurai not only becomes a deadly, efficient weapon, but it also becomes a work of art that creates emotions of awe, deep respect, and fear in it’s enemies.