Shiny object syndrome. At its worse it can prove fatal… to your business.
We see examples of it all the time, talented marketers and entrepreneurs who see brand new channels, trends and buzzwords that they assume will absolutely blow away their target market. It often occurs when people choose to market on “emerging” media, as opposed to concentrating on achieving their current goals. Don’t get us wrong, the use of emerging markets and channels can actually be a very powerful tool in order to reach existing and new customers. However, if you fail when implementing a strategy revolving around new media that you do not really understand, you can lose some valuable resources in the process, something that most entrepreneurs cannot afford to risk.
Fortunately, in order to avoid, you simply need to ask yourself five simple questions before committing too much of your resources into such fads!
1. What business problem are you trying to solve?
Every business needs one, a goal that they need to achieve in order to be able to measure their success. Innovation is about making things easier for you to achieve this goal, not to set out and consistently use fancy new tools to do so! If you don’t know what you are trying to solve, the chances are the new social media fad is not exactly going to help you.
2. Will this reach my customers?
Do your customers even use this? Realistically, most small businesses do their best to target geographically to begin with, due to a lack of reach and the resources to support this. However, most digital platforms do not have a geographical boundary. Others have a distinct sexual differentiation or specific age range. As the marketer, you must ask yourself if what you are using is actually reaching your target market. Do your demographics fit in with the users of that digital media?
3. How do people use this channel?
Every emerging media outlet uses different communication methods and serves a different purpose in peoples lives. We still group them all as social media, but can you honestly say that people communicate the same way they do on Facebook as they do Twitter? Or Foursquare? Or Pintrest? The goal is to be relevant and add value to people’s lives. Before you choose, think how people use.
4. Do you have the right resources?
Even “free” things take resources. They take talent, skill and time. Do you have someone on your staff that can dedicate the time required to market effectively with this tactic? If you are going to use it and try to be successful, you are going to have to use it properly. This will involve allocation of resources, something that you DO NOT want to mess up!
5. Can you be awesome?
Do you have a truly great idea for a way to create impact with an emerging channel? Maybe an emerging channel is the right way to go. But, only if you can be awesome. This is done by not only generating publicity, as that may not turn into profit. Only the truly awesome social media users will know how to convert internet traffic into dollars. Can you?
Just remember, small businesses have very limited resources, and you should do your best not to squander them! Avoid the traps!