Just When You Think You’re Kinda Smart…

November 8, 2012

As you may know if you follow me on Twitter, this week/weekend I’m attending the National Association of REALTORS Convention in Orlando, Florida. It’s a wonderful event, jam-packed with events, discussions and sessions on, well, just about everything, it seems. Naturally, I tend to stick mainly to the marketing & social media track.

First up this year was the Communications Directors Institute, which kicked off with a fantastic morning with Shonali Burke (@shonali), Vice President, Digital Media & Marketing, at MSL Washington DC and author of the blog Waxing Unlyrical. Shonali began her presentation, “Smart PR Measurement for the Digital Age,” by asking audience members how much social media measurement they were currently doing.

This is when I felt pretty smart. After all, I use tons of social media measurement tools… I track engagement and influence and inbound marketing paths and click-throughs and yada yada yada.

But then Shonali spent the next 2 1/2 hours talking about real measurement – the kind that relates back to well thought-out strategic plans based on SWOT analyses, using tactics deliberately chosen for their efficiency and history of producing successful, quantifiable results.

Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling all that smart any more.

See, it isn’t that anything that Shonali said was really all that new to me or that she presented some out-of-the-box way of building engagement or measuring campaigns. What she presented was basic marketing strategy – refined for the digital age. It was about defining what you want people to do, driving them down an easy-to-navigate path to get there, providing them with a reason for taking action, measuring what worked, and tweaking as necessary. It is what all of us marketers do.

Or is it?

How many of us are so caught up in the day-to-day tactics that we “don’t have time” to implement this process that we KNOW works? How many of us dive into social media campaigns thinking we know what our customers want? How many of us, particularly us small-business owners or one-man marketing teams, continually find ourselves mired in the ….

(And this where my post saved, and so despite writing the remainder of this article, this is where I start again after my hotel internet connection failed and I was again reminded of the importance of not WRITING blog posts in WordPress and/or not frequently saving the draft. I frustratedly digress…)

You get the point. And you understand why we do it. We’re all busy. We’ve all been handed things that “need to go out NOW.” We’ve all got a million things to do and not enough resources to get it all done.

But what I took away from Shonali’s presentation is a huge, smack-in-the-face reminder that if I only stopped and stepped out of the go-go-go zone for a little while, it might be an opportunity to do the pre-campaign research and planning that would result in more effective and EFFICIENT execution – and still leave time for measurement.

In this crazy digital marketing space in which I spend so much of my time, I, for one, need that reminder and I need it often. And THAT is why Shonali is so smart.


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