Believe it or not, every so often I read a book just for the fun of it- not work related. Well, at least that is my intention. On a recent vacation to Vegas, a fellow dog lover friend recommended "The Art of Racing in the Rain".
Simply summarized, it is the story of a family as told from the dog's perspective. The underlining theme in the book is reincarnation- that we are all energy and spirit and that each form we take is a new lesson we learn in life. The main character, the dog, is convinced he would make an excellent man as his next form. However at some point in his journey with his human family, he questions, "Have I squandered my dogness? Have I made a mistake by anticipating my future and shunning my present?"
What does this statement have to do with inbound internet marketing? Consider this, why did you decide to read this post? Looking for a prediction to catch the next wave in Internet marketing? Well, I admit to a bit of bait and switch, because I am not going to tell you (even if I could 100% predict it).
So many ask me, what is the next big thing? They ask this so that they can try to be prepared for the rapid changes. While with good intentions, the danger is being so worried about the future of marketing, you are ignoring what is happening now.
Am I advising you to not plan or anticipation your marketing? No, far from it. Why did I trick you into reading this post? Before you get all mad at me, consider what I have learned from countless conversations with marketers, sales professionals and business owners.
Plan for Now, React to Now
This post was something I first thought of at the Inbound Marketing Summit where Scott Stratten spoke. I first came across Scott on Twitter (big surprise when you see his profile). I was turned on by his sense of humor and the way he seemed to enjoy bucking convention. When I heard him speak, I expected humor and a bit of smart ass rebellion. I was delighted when I found he was also pretty smart. I don't remember specifically what his topic was on, but this is what stuck with me.
How can we be ready for the future but not ignore our present?
- Have (and use!) a dynamic, flexible strategy. Yes, do your research. Yes, write it down, but not in stone. Your plan should be the guideposts, and when a detour is thrown up in your way you can still navigate around it with a new direction.
- Be a learning organization. Empower your employees to learn and make decisions, don't punish mistakes- learn from them, experiment regularly.
- Create a culture of speed and collaboration. The more you micro-manage, the longer it takes to get anything done. The more you let go of (once you have hired and trained the right people) the more that gets done (and perhaps better than you would have done it).
- Most importantly, focus on your customer first. They will be the ones to guide you through the changes. If you are listening, really listening, you will know and be prepared.
Need a little help implementing these concepts in your business or organization? Contact us to start a conversation and see if we can help.