Marketing paralysis.

There’s too much.

As a part of several marketing groups, both in real life and online, I feel for anyone out there who is trying to understand what is going on out here. Just today, I’ve been invited to an AdWord optimization presentation, a website strategy presentation, a how-to on video on the web, a how-to successfully use Twitter seminar. And oh, by the way, I’m writing this at 10am. On a Sunday.

It’s enough to overwhelm and confuse me, and I’ve been doing this for quite some time and consider myself pretty darn savvy on this stuff. I occasionally go to some of these presentations, mostly to make sure I’m not missing out on the next big thing. Guess what? 99% of the time, I end up wasting my time.

Why? Although things are moving and changing quickly, the basics have always remained the same. The means and the reporting tools are vastly improved, but there are always too many people out there who are trying to say that the means is the message. That has not, is not, and will never be the case. Some of it is helpful. The vast majority is snake oil.

I’ve spoken with several prospects recently who are literally doing nothing to market because they don’t know what to do. They believe they should be doing so many things that they don’t know where to begin. They are trapped by paralysis of choice and too many people moving around telling them what to do.

My advice? First figure out who you are and who you’re trying to reach. Then create a magnetic brand that will resonate with that specific market. Understand their world and how they (and only they) consume media. Then formulate a plan around what’s best for them. This focused simplicity is counter to what many are saying, but it is in line with the way things have always been.

You will be inundated with hundreds of new ways to reach your audience. Over the next many years, there will be new tools and new specialists and industries created. These are just distractions, not strategies. It is just sound, not clear, concise brand resonance.

In my opinion, groups talking about the next big thing aren’t really doing much except running around yelling trying to exploit a moment in time. And brands that react to all of the things they could be doing are missing out on the few focused things they should be doing very well. My favorite question in any one of these seminars? “Tell me a success story that you’ve been involved with personally”. Usually its crickets, followed by stuttering, followed by how they increased sales in a local vacuum store (or the equivalent) by 3%. Hey, good stuff.

Beware of the empty promise(s) of the next big thing(s). Keep focused on a comprehensive strategy, and stay true to it. And don’t let anyone with a soapbox interrupt that path.

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