Imagine if right now, your favorite social network were completely unplugged. Would your marketing survive? Or, would it collapse like a house of cards, leaving you scrambling to rebuild hundreds of relationships elsewhere? While I’m not suggesting that Twitter or Facebook is about to go dark, there’s been an interesting history of change in social media since its inception, and it’s less than 20 years old. Moving forward, the virtue of agility will prove most valuable as our reliance on the familiarity of web 2.0 is put to the test in a future no one can predict. Is your marketing pantry full in the event of a digital doomsday?
The reason I asked the question posed in the title, is because I don’t think we are ready for it. When our SEO increases and our Klout goes up, we revel in a job well done. It’s human nature to aim for benchmarks that have recently proven valuable. But while the status quo is wonderfully comforting, it dangerously lends to complacency. Think about the small businesses that were blindsided by Google’s Panda update or Facebook’s Edgerank update. With the flick of a switch, their wells of consistency completely dried up, leaving them bare and vulnerable to the competition. It’s a position no company should find itself in.
Perhaps you were fortunate enough to not be affected by Panda or Edgerank changes, but what about the countless changes and updates to come? Facebook and Google don’t exactly warn us before making a change. The reality is that any given day, your Facebook reach or search engine rankings could drop out of sight. Unable to find a footing, could your brand survive? Maybe, but maybe not.
I believe that thought provoking questions like these are great learning tools.
Scare tactics aside, they help us to analyze what we’re currently doing to see how to make it better. There’s always room for improvement. Through thorough analysis and participation, the path to success will be found, by us or by others- but it won’t be found in the same location. Over the next 20 years, social networks will come and go and advertising mediums will change. We can’t afford to be dependent on any one 3rd party for exposure.
To get the word far and wide, social media, email marketing, pay per click advertising, blogging and inbound marketing are all cornerstones. And while they each work well individually, together they form a fortress of protection. The analogy of a fortress is great because they surround what’s valuable with layers of defensive and offensive resources. Inherently, for lasting protection, they can’t have a missing wall or a weak spot. Would you consider your marketing a fortress? Can it protect against existential threats fighting for brand awareness and demand?
Today and tomorrow, the benefits of an evolutionary-by-design marketing mix will be compounded. This means exploring the new and revisiting the past. These actions will provide for the future today- so build out the Twitter following, start conversations on Facebook, create inforgraphics for Pinterest and always look to the horizon. But remember, marketing is much more than social media. It’s a myriad of traditional channels, advertising, new media and developing technology enablers like Near Field Communication.a fortress is great because they surround what’s valuable with layers of defensive and offensive resources. Inherently, for lasting protection, they can’t have a missing wall or a weak spot. Would you consider your marketing a fortress? Can it protect against existential threats fighting for brand awareness and demand?
If done correctly, you’ll find that inopportune failure in one area just becomes opportunity in another. By hedging your bets, changes don’t have to be devastating. If your Myspace 1.0 group was the place to be and now it’s a ghosttown, it’s okay because you were prepared by leaving the light on at Facebook. If Facebook decides brands have to pony up for exposure, it’s okay because people want to visit and share your great content anyway. Perhaps you wisely saw the importance of Google+ before the next guy and claimed your territory. To the thinkers go the spoils.
Shift around your resources to where they work best, dissect your failures and always stay plugged into the changes. You’ll be happy you did when technology throws you a digital curveball.
So what have you been doing to prepare for a digital doomsday? Tell me in the comments below.