Digital marketing is often viewed like a spooky old haunted house that all the kids are afraid of. Few willingly enter but for the belief that untold riches await; if only for the lucky few who can make it through the maze of shifting hallways.
Bold tales are told of those who find the fabled riches hidden within. Most, however, have little to show for their exploration.
A variety of unknown passages slow progress. Confusing twists and turns disorient explorers and a few confident steps forward often result in ending up a few steps further from their destination. Success, momentum and progress turn out to be far harder than they anticipated or were led to believe.
Digital marketing is very much like this for many businesses; thousands of scary unknowns exist but the alluring promise of success drives them forward. Some enter with little preparation but believe they can find a successful path by following simplistic checklists and way-finders scrawled along the way.
They are unprepared, fueled by a false sense of simplicity, understanding and comprehension for what lurks in the dark spooky passages.
Others believe that they are better equipped; they’ve read books, blogs and whitepapers. They’ve invested heavily in their quest; they bought all the right software, hired staff for various tasks, brought in outside guides to provide a map for reference along the way.
They’ve got a better shot at the success they seek but most still end up with far less than they were hoping to find. The steps they took, mapped out by multiple people and processes, were ultimately inefficient, often contradictory and unproductive.
Beaten, but not broken, both groups reassess their position and process. Maybe they just need to refine a few things? Post more on social media perhaps? Add a video or two to their website? Seek out more testimonials? Hire a different marketing partner? Train additional staff? Outsource to India? Redesign the website? Start from scratch? Give up?
Lots of options, all of which come with their own challenges, opportunities, risks and rewards.
Shopping around results in similar sounding solutions priced from high to low, and everywhere in between. Self-described experts offer opinions at every turn, preaching their own magical formula that promises success.
Businesses get lost in the shifting maze of seemingly identical services, buzz words and jargon. Analysis paralysis obscures the best route forward. Cracks in their confidence form as seeds of doubt take root. The vibrant rewards once imagined, begin to fade. Time, energy and more money are reinvested with more hope and less confidence as the foundation for meaningful change.
Time passes, hope withers and despair gains control — the outcomes promised and expected are a myth; the web does not work for us; referrals drive our success, any further investment is a waste of money; we’re already too busy anyway.
Solace and self-delusion are the rewards found in the status quo. Somewhere in the middle of the adventure, the finish line for the journey towards mediocrity is found.
It’s a digital quagmire and businesses that settle here and accept this as their destination are doomed to mediocrity. Those who refuse to accept this as their title find the courage and energy to retrace their steps and begin again. They have learned, and they now know more. They ask better questions, they measure the better things, they know what success looks like. They selectively choose the right partner who is committed and invested in not only the up-front planning but also the journey itself. They are part of the team, they help shoulder the load and are committed to successful outcomes; they are invested in your success.
Businesses that don’t accept mediocrity no longer act in reactive, impulsive ways. Everything is planned, hope has been renewed; this time it will be different.
The journey has begun once again.