Value Isn't One Size Fits All

Source: stock.xchngThings are moving quickly--so quickly, in fact, that we often make quick generalizations about new developments and judge things positively or negatively without really thinking them through.

Take two stories that have taken some spotlight. First, Twitter announced that Promoted Tweets will display in users’ timelines, instead of only in Twitter searches and sidebar trends. This was met with quite a bit of skepticism as to whether or not Promoted Tweets are truly valuable. Second, Foursquare unrolled a feature that allows any and all businesses to create business pages, a capability previously limited to major brands who worked with Foursquare representatives directly. This, on the other hand, was met by a lot of positive information encouraging brands to act and act fast.

I'm not going to say whether or not these takeaways are right or wrong. That's not the point of the post, so let's get to it then.

Dismiss This. Lust for That.

Do this! Don’t do that! Act now. This is a priority. Be quick or be left behind. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone--being an instant judge of a new feature, service or offering. Understandably, this is the nature of the industry. Everyone wants to know what the latest thing is and what it means for business.

The issue with dismissing out of hand is the risk in passing up something that’s actually an opportunity. On the other hand, loving something that’s brand new without question may be interpreted by others as being an immediate priority when really it shouldn’t be. You’ve seen it--shiny object syndrome.

How does this happen? Take Promoted Tweets. There are certainly brands out there who have used them and haven’t seen the value. However, others have seen the value through increased numbers of followers and higher engagement in the form of mentions and retweets. For many a Foursquare brand page doesn’t need to be a priority just yet. The service is still gaining traction with more users, and other efforts may deserve priority. However, for a business that has pretty tech-savvy customers, it may be what’s needed right now.

Value and Brand Go Hand-in-Hand

The brand is just as important as the new platform/ feature/ etc. when it comes to determining value. Every brand is in a different spot in terms of capabilities and readiness. For some the idea of a Facebook Page is “so yesterday,” while it may be a huge undertaking for others. In addition, every brand has different customers, which means each has different priorities as well.

Custom Prioritization

The key to knowing what to do and not to do is paying attention to what’s going on, listening to opinion, weighing the pros and cons, and, finally, considering what makes sense for the brand and strategy. Then you can figure out where things stand.

  • Short-term priorities: The strategic tactics that the brand is ready for as an organization internally and externally. These things are the “low hanging fruit” that have the resources, the desire and the need to be achieved.
  • Long-term priorities: These are still important, but for some reason or another, they can’t be done in the short-term. Maybe the capabilities just aren’t there, or maybe short-term priorities need to take place first.
  • Experiments: This can be the dangerous section, but it can also be the most fun. The brands that experiment and take risks are usually rewarded with increased attention. Place non-priorities that are interesting in this section. They may be worth looking into on a rainy day.
  • Revisit...or Don’t: Some things just don’t make sense. Don’t be afraid to say no, even if everyone else is doing it. If it doesn’t make sense for the brand, the strategy and the audience, it should be set aside to focus on more important things. Nothing's permanent in this space. You can always come back.

Prioritize and Re-Prioritize

New features, platforms and capabilities will come about all the time. That’s what makes this space so much fun. They’ll either mature or fizzle, depending upon their ability to prove to marketers that they can achieve business objectives. Our goal, as marketers should be to be vigilant not to suffer from shiny object syndrome or be dismissive naysayers.