Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
July 30, 2011 6:47 AM

The Haters

The Haters will tell you...

  • Blogging doesn't have a ROI.
  • A tweet is worthless.
  • Getting someone to "like" your Facebook page doesn't increase your sales.
  • A viral video may get millions of views, but there is no economic value to it.
  • Marketing your business on LinkedIn is a huge waste of time.
  • No one will switch over from Facebook to Google +.
  • People don't use branded apps.
  • Search Engine Marketing is loosing its luster.
  • Nobody listens to Podcasts anymore.
  • Social Media doesn't provide enough exposure for a brand.
  • Not enough people are using mobile to make it worth the investment for a brand at this point.

...and the hits just keep on coming.

The truth is that The Haters are right. You actually don't need anything in the above list to be successful in Marketing. There are many very well-respected and well-earning brands that don't use any of the channels and platforms above and they're doing quite fine, thank you very much. There are also many brands who are doing everything above and not experiencing any kind of significant success from where they were prior to getting engaged in the digital channels.

It sounds like heresy.

Hardly. Success in Digital Marketing (and here's a bigger hint: success in anything) is not about the averages or the individuals. Success is about the framework that you create. The brands that struggle to uncover ROI in Digital Marketing are usually lacking the right mental framework (the other challenge is that they're often brands that are simply not all that interesting to people, or that the brands aren't doing anything interesting that is worthy of the audience's attention).

What does a "mental framework" look like?

It has nothing to do with attitude or posture, it has to do with leveraging your corporate strategy to create a series of business outcomes and choosing the right channels and platforms that can get you there with the best efficacy. The challenge is that most brands will not (do not) create a new mental framework. Instead, they base everything on frameworks of the past. It's a choice to believe and follow this new mental framework. Change is hard.

What does this the old mental framework sound like?

  • "If I make a video on YouTube, I want it to do better than my TV advertising."
  • "We want to make a Facebook Page, but we need it to tie-into our out-of-home advertising."
  • "If I put the time into Twitter, I need it to do more for me than my weekly flyers in the newspaper."
  • "The money I spend on building an app could be used instead to create a contest."

...and the hits just keep on coming.

It's not that comparing your lines of media is a bad idea. It's that comparing anything to lines of media that been delivering diminishing returns (and based on old mental frameworks) is a bad idea. It's also that by doing any form of comparison that is not "apples to apples" will always lead you to one answer: doing the same thing that you were doing before. New business models are weird because they look weird, feel weird, act weird and react weird. We're humans. Our natural instinct is to be avoid anything and everything weird. We tend to learn the hard way (and often) that the new weird is (sometimes) the new norm.

A personal tale of weird:

My career started as a professional journalist (when I say "professional," I mean "paid"). Blogging seems like the most counterintuitive strategy ever (write a lot more, much more frequently, respond to as many people as you can, promote an entirely new publishing channel... all for free). Removing the averages and the individuals, Blogging was the smartest strategy I have deployed for my own, professional development to date. In fact, when I started Blogging, I had left professional journalism. I was already the President of Twist Image, and as a Digital Marketing agency, I was leveraging the platform (and my passion for writing) to share my thoughts on the new Digital Marketing landscape. It was very weird to be writing so much for free. If you're reading this, you know how the story ends. Along with the visibility and credibility that this Blog continues to build for our agency, it has also propelled me back into journalism (and yes, in many instances, I am being paid to write articles and columns for magazines, newspapers and websites). While I don't write for the money (the exposure and experience is much more valuable at this point), the whole experience of changing my values from, "my words are worth money and I should be paid to write," to "while writing may bring me a comfortable income, perhaps Blogging can be a pillar in building wealth" was a new mental framework that definitely felt weird (and sometimes, it still does).

The Haters want things to stay the way they are/the way they were.

Most businesspeople don't want change (most people don't want change). They're busy spending their time trying to figure out how to make the old ways of working work more effectively. New mental frameworks are always about trying to bring progress. Personally, that was always the vision of everything you see being published and the work we're trying to do at Twist Image: it's about bringing progress to the Marketing industry. The Haters aren't looking for progress. The Haters are looking at the averages... and who wants to be average?

What do you think?

By Mitch Joel