I’ve found that idealism is a common trait among marketers. We’re always looking to get in on “the next big thing” before the competition gets a whiff of the action. It’s a trait that helps us innovate in the market and push our brands forward.
Unfortunately, this quest for new tactics, tools and platforms has a considerable drawback, known as “Shiny Object Syndrome.” We become so obsessed with what’s new that we forget about fundamental marketing practices and common sense strategies. The victim in all of this is ROI, and can leave marketing teams scratching their heads when sales don’t skyrocket.
Perception vs. Reality
It’s hard to blame yourself if you fall victim to Shiny Object Syndrome. Digital media networks are facing cutthroat competition, causing them to publish exaggerated headlines that make even the dullest app look revolutionary. And more often than not, you’ll get heat from your boss if your competitors are in a feeding frenzy on a trendy social network and your brand is nowhere to be found. All signs are telling you to jump in.
But prioritizing new tactics and strategies comes at the cost of practicing and refining proven methods. Just take a look at two recent reports that show discrepancies. In Web Marketing 123’s 2015 “State of Digital Marketing Report“, B2C marketers overwhelmingly pick social media as their top online marketing channel.
Yet, when we look at actual traffic data from that same time period, direct (or branded) traffic and search engines drive significantly more website visits than social. It’s not even close.
Branded traffic and search combine for over 70% of global web traffic, with social contributing just a hair under 6%.
Combating Shiny Object Syndrome
Moving beyond this method of thinking requires you to be disciplined. You have to shun the fear of missing out (FOMO) and rely on data, strategy and testing to guide you.
To find out where you should focus your efforts, start by asking the following questions:
Who are my target customers?
While seemingly obvious, this is a question that trips up many SMBs and even a surprising number of enterprise customers I work with. Knowing who your core audience is, what they value and why they buy is a critical first step in knowing where to spend your marketing dollars.
What is their buying process?
Each product and customer segment has vastly different shopping patterns. Shopping for cars is different than shopping for enterprise software, and you need to understand the steps your customers take when shopping for your products/services.
Where is my product in the maturity curve?
This question rarely gets addressed, and it can make a big impact on your digital strategy. For example, mature products that have an established market need tend to do well in search, while radically new products or industry-makers can do better in discovery networks like social or display.
What resources do I have?
This is the question that begins to trim your options. Even if your product is the perfect candidate for YouTube, it won’t do much good if you don’t have the resources to produce quality videos. You should consider all your resources here, including staff, budget, technology, agencies (ahem) and any other factors that drive decisions.
Does this make sense?
The most important question to ask is one that I call the gut test: Does it even make sense to do this? Tunnel vision can cloud our judgment and lead us down the wrong path, and it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself these questions. If your gut says no, go back to square one and see why. You’ll be surprised at how accurate intuition can be.
Making Better Choices
Of course, all of this is much easier said than done. Picking the right marketing channels is a mix of art, science and intuition, and simply can’t be solved by a 300 word blog post (which is why I wrote over 600 words!)
Feel free to send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out a contact form, and I’d be happy to help you choose the right marketing channels for your business.