This is a guest post by Marjorie Clayman, Director of Client Development at Clayman Advertising, Inc., her family’s full service marketing firm. Margie has written an e-book called the ABCs of Marketing Myths, which you can read about by clicking the live link.
The Rose That Could Grow Anywhere
If you do any kind of gardening, you know that there are an awful lot of considerations you need to make before putting those seeds or plants in the ground. Well, assuming you want the plant to thrive. The more serious you are, the more you need to do before you actually plan. For example, you need to know what climate regionyou’re in because that will help you analyze what plants will do well in your environment. You need to evaluate your dirt and decide whether it’s clay-like, rich, thin, rocky, kind of sandy, or a mixture of all of that. You need to think about what kind of light your garden gets. Does it get lots of morning light, or is it in the sun in the afternoon? Is it in the shade all of the time? The list goes on and on, and while considering all of this does not guarantee that your garden will bloom, it definitely can give you a leg up.
Knowing all of this, what would you do if someone came up to you and said that they had a bunch of roses and they were sure they would grow in your garden no matter where you are? Would you believe that and buy the roses without question, or would you wonder if maybe you should do some exploring first?
Believe it or not, many business people and marketers in the online world face a quandary very much like this!
“Planning is stupid.”
More often than I can count, I see this sentiment spread throughout the online world. I’ve seen it in blog posts, magazine articles, Twitter chats – everywhere. The sentiment is that planning takes too long. A truly flexible business, so the logic goes, should be able to do decide what to do on a whim. Planning is a sign of corporate slow-down. You need to be able to react immediately, no hesitation.
Well, the problem is that marketing is very much like gardening (again, assuming you want things to go well in both scenarios). If you want your marketing to succeed, you need to analyze who your target audience is, how best to read them, how they want to be reached by you, what the best way to get that done might be, and how to measure your efforts. Without a plan, you’re just throwing a bucket of seeds onto the ground and hoping that something pops up.
“If you aren’t trying this, you’re behind the 8-ball.”
What often goes hand in hand with the “planning is stupid” line is that you should give everything a try. I saw a lot of online people saying that everyone needed to give Quora a try. When Foursquare became really popular, I saw a lot of blog posts saying, “If you aren’t claiming your presence on Foursquare, your business will suffer.” We’re now seeing the same sort of proclamations about Google Plus and Pinterest.
The problem is that these tactics are not going to work for every business. It’s like that person who wants you to grow roses without first exploring what kind of garden area you have. It might work if you’re lucky, but then again, you might not even have a garden available. Are the roses going to work for you then?
Businesses are unique critters. They have different types of leadership, different types of customers, different kinds of products and services, and different kinds of needs. It’s not logical to say that a business should try everything without first analyzing who that business is. It’s not logical to suggest that planning is lame.
What do you think? Are you a “Plant it and see what happens” kind of person, or do you believe there is value in more analysis first? I’d love to hear your thoughts!