I penned this strategy piece and used it as part of a post I did at http://www.socializedseo.com/last-opportunity-online/
We love to hear a good pitch.
We get more susceptible as we think higher of ourselves. The person who swears you cannot hypnotize her is the easiest for the hypnotist. As we have learned all these cool gizmos and maybe we are first adapters we naturally have adapted an arrogance that creates blind spots in our critical thinking. Its natural and it happens all the time.
We naturally align with folks who will tell us that we are right. We all want to be right. And lets face it if we are early...
adapters we probably value being smart as one of our highest drivers of our behavior. A quick look at the psychological term cognitive dissonance might explain this:
The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, or by justifying or rationalizing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Dissonance normally occurs when a person perceives a logical inconsistency among his or her cognitions. This happens when one idea implies the opposite of another. For example, a belief in animal rights could be interpreted as inconsistent with eating meat or wearing fur. Noticing the contradiction would lead to dissonance, which could be experienced as anxiety, guilt, shame, anger, embarrassment, stress, and other negative emotional states. When people's ideas are consistent with each other, they are in a state of harmony, or consonance. A person who just spent too much money on a new car might decide that the new vehicle is much less likely to break down than his or her old car. This belief may or may not be true, but it would likely reduce dissonance and make the person feel better. Wikipedia
This is why marketers measure and test. To take opinion out of the picture, and to rely on measurable results.
This is the challenge with chasing the next big thing. It is what gets folks to focus on majoring in minors, and leading with tactics instead of strategy.
Look at the short conversation on my friend Jim's Facebook page at the top of this post.
The last link that I mention asks this same question of Google.Titled "Google is not a Strategy".
The vast majority of website owners all suffer from this mentality. To treat your web activities as singular events, Not following any guiding principles or overall strategy.
This is what leads folks to just get onto Facebook and start yapping away aimlessly with "friends" that will never ever buy or give them a referral. It is what leads to agents saying, "internet leads suck". It is what leads some agents to publicly denounce the fact that they are a salesman. (talk about denial!). And it is all part of chasing the next big thing.
Websites, IDX, SEO and Google, Pay Per Click, Blogging,Social Media all work. They just do not work as they are practiced by the majority.
Greg Uttal of Speed Lead once told me if you cannot measure and duplicate it, it simply is not a business. When starting from these places it is easy to see how folks get lost in their online activities and temptations to pretend we are working.
In this environment of shrinking budgets and gravitation towards the web. It is more important than ever to have a guiding strategy that leads you towards your business goals.
Part of the challenge is that most of us kind of get what strategy means. But few can really define the idea. George Steiner of California Management Review said in his book Strategic Management that there is very little agreement as to the meaning of strategy in the business world.
Is it any wonder that small business folks that struggle with this concept in the real world trip and fall online.
Steiner says that:
Henry Mintzberg, in his 1994 book, The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, points out that businesses use "strategy" in several different ways, the most common being these four:
- Strategy is that which top management does that is of great importance to the organization.
- Strategy refers to basic directional decisions, that is, to purposes and missions.
- Strategy consists of the important actions necessary to realize these directions.
- Strategy answers the question: What should the organization be doing?
- Strategy answers the question: What are the ends we seek and how should we achieve them?
- Strategy is a plan, a "how," a means of getting from here to there.
- Strategy is a pattern in actions over time; for example, a company that regularly markets very expensive products is using a "high end" strategy.
- Strategy is position; that is, it reflects decisions to offer particular products or services in particular markets.
- Strategy is perspective, that is, vision and direction.
Mintzberg argues that strategy emerges over time as intentions collide with and accommodate a changing reality. Thus, one might start with a perspective and conclude that it calls for a certain position, which is to be achieved by way of a carefully crafted plan, with the eventual outcome and strategy reflected in a pattern evident in decisions and actions over time. This pattern in decisions and actions defines what Mintzberg called "realized" or emergent strategy.
This page on strategy is highly recommended and the source for the above bullet points.
Liana Evans of Search Engine Watch warns that, "Implementing social media marketing tactics for any reason without a sound strategy in place will ultimately lead to confusion, and then disappointment in your efforts in the social media space. It's a lot like throwing darts blind. You're throwing them without knowing what or where the bull's-eye is. Once in a while you might hit the dartboard, and it would be a miracle if you hit the bull's-eye."
Evans gives four questions that you must ask when deploying a social media strategy which I would like to generalize into something you should ask for your online strategy
And what kind of online marketing post full of quotes would be any good without Seth Godin:
Here's the obligatory...skiing analogy: Carving your turns better is a tactic. Choosing the right ski area in the first place is a strategy. Everyone skis better in Utah, it turns out.
If you are tired of hammering your head against the wall, if it feels like you never are good enough, or that you're working way too hard, it doesn't mean you're a loser. It means you've got the wrong strategy.