Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
November 2, 2010 9:18 PM

The Little Big Things

How often do you really stop to think about the little stuff.

It's all the little stuff... and how it adds up that counts most. When best-selling business book author, Tom Peters, announced that his book was going to be called, The Little Big Things, I smiled. Not because it's a clever turn of phrase, but because Peters was able to verbalize - in a couple of words - everything that really makes Marketing (and the potential to do great Marketing) so exciting in this decade.

The big idea is not one thing/the only thing.

A ways back, I published a Blog post about "the big idea" (you can read it here: Maybe It Is Time For Marketing To Move Away From "The Big Idea"). The premise of the post was that Marketing, technology and Social Media is changing advertising, and that the spirit of the big idea is now shifting to a world where the more successful brands are leveraging a brand eco-system that engenders many little big ideas, that cumulatively create something truly unique and special. When you add in the fact that consumers can also take part in both small acts (like sharing and rating content) to bigger acts (like creating their own Blog posts or mash-ups), you begin to see and understand the value in not only acting small, but also in embracing a world where a lot of little things become a lot of very big things.

It's not just an idea... It's a way of being.

I love Instapaper (you can read more about why I love it, right here: Instapaper Is A Must). Today, Fast Company had a fascinating article titled, Instapaper Founder Marco Arment's Journey From Bagel Jockey to Publishing Pioneer, about Instapaper's creator, Marco Arment, who left his job as the co-founder of the micro-blogging service Tumblr to work alone on a very small idea. When prodded for his life-lesson, this is what he said...

"I've done everything from stocking shelves at a natural food co-op, to baking bagels at Brueggers and bussing tables. Then I realized that jobs suck, but if you could get up at 6 a.m. and bake your own breakfast, that is very satisfying. I learned the value of giving people little delights [while working at the bagel shop]. Those small details and experiences are the reason why people like luxury cars. They are full of those little delights. You can do the same thing with any business. With a Web and iPhone app, I try to find new and tiny ways to delight my customers. They may not notice, but it helps drive goodwill and makes your product remarkable."

It's true... Even for the big brands.

As a Marketer, our job is straight-forward: get people to buy our products and services. Get people to talk about our products and services. Get people excited about doing those things by surprising and delighting them. Too many Marketers spend too much time not making that last part happen: the surprise and delight. Blogging is like this too. You're not just suddenly publishing to a significant audience. It takes time. Little pieces of valuable content each day, slowly build up over time and when you look back you have a mountain of content and a mountain of followers/community members. Little by little.

And, while I don't expect anybody to think this is some sort of original thought or groundbreaking new idea, sometimes a quote like Arment's reminds us of what is right and what is good about Marketing, Communications, Advertising, Social Media and the Internet. The little things.

By Mitch Joel