Archives for posts with tag: strategies

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Silly question, right? (Even sillier now since fax machines are now almost extinct.)

You never heard a CEO asking the CMO: “So, what’s our telephone strategy?”

In the old days, no marketers had a smoke signal strategy. Or a telegraph consultant.

All this seems bizarre because fax machine, phone and telegraphs are tools, a medium with the purpose to connect human beings with each other.

Suddenly, Al Gore invents the Internet and everybody demands digital strategies, email strategies, social strategies, mobile strategies, emerging media strategies – you name it.

Does the demand for all these strategies equal the need of people?

Not really.

In the end, it’s about connecting people. Email, social platforms, emerging media, anything digital are just conduits. Nothing more than technologies that people use to connect, engage with, learn, waste time or communicate. Behind all these technologies and amazing new tools are just people. Is there a story they want to hear from you? Is there anything of value you can offer them?

Most brands focus on the technology part and it gets quite complicated and complex. All that complexity fades away when you focus on people and the connections you want to build.

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You get the nervous twitch. Or you become lethargic out of boredom.

A few years ago, the majority of strategies were outdated. They still lived in the post-industrial age, not the knowledge management age. Companies held on too long to their strategies because at one point they succeeded. (We see this playing out in Washington D.C. each day: “You just cut taxes and the unicorns will appear.” “Add more money/stimulus to the system and the unicorns will multiply.”)

The majority of companies had a massive strategy jolt in the last few years and the lethargy problem almost disappeared. Just to be replaced by the nervous twitch.

Companies are starting to shift major strategies a few times a year.

Complacency in board rooms has been replaced with a frantic, ADD-like obsession to pivot at any opportunity. It makes my head spin and some brands have turned into unrecognizable product disasters.

What’s the most admired and valuable company in the world right now?

Apple. They haven’t changed their strategy in a long time: Great design and integrated software/hardware.

Microsoft. You can say what you want about them, they have stuck to their long-term strategies. And continue to succeed.

Compare that to AOL.

Nobody says you should stick with bad strategies (And, there are many bad strategies out there.) but you need to stick longer with a strategy than you currently do.

The Seinfeld strategy

The show premiered as The Seinfeld Chronicles in July 1989. After it aired, NBC didn’t want to pick it up and even offered it to Fox, which declined to pick it up. The head of late night and special events for NBC, Rick Ludwin, diverted money from his budget and the next four episodes were filmed. They got lucky: These episodes followed Cheers and the show was finally picked up. NBC wanted to air Seinfeld Saturdays at 10.30 pm and ended up Wednesdays at 9:30pm.

If it wasn’t for Rick Ludwin, Jerry Seinfeld might be still be touring through questionable towns and comedy stores. And we would have missed out on hours of intelligent entertainment.

We get bored too easily.

That’s especially true for marketers. We love to change branding and communications strategy. A new season, a new campaign. A new tool, a new toy.

Instead of radical change, strategies need to be fluid and flexible, while always sticking to the same main goals and guiding principles.

Don’e be too trigger happy. You might just miss out on the Seinfeld of your career.