Since reading The Dip I've been thinking about several new questions. Well, the questions are not really new; they just keep resurfacing so I'm thinking about them from a different angle. On the surface, wondering if you have staying power may seem simple. You either do or you don't. As Seth writes in his new blog:
"...the thesis is that being seen as best in the world, whatever 'best' and whatever 'world' means, is the single greatest contributor to success in marketing."
Seth talks about three reasons why this is important and offers some examples. I can add a few from these last couple of weeks:
Selection -- Recently Conversation Agent was recommended by popular vote to participate in Jaffe Juice's most valuable blog contest. Joe's readers vote and, by elimination, there will be one final lucky winner. What are the chances you will read the blogs that did not get picked? Does that mean they have no staying power?
Access -- thanks to the Internet and to many other technologies we have today, there are many ways to find information about a product and service. If we look at access also as who knows you, there are many more word of mouth opportunities to make it into someone's top of mind category. If you have a blog, or a web site or a book with ideas that people want to spread, you win. If your information is disseminated not only by your neighbors, but also by a global community, you win. Does this mean that if you don't have a blog or somehow use Web 2.0 technology you have no staying power?
Pyramids -- if you think you're never going to play this game, think again. You already are. Chances are that you have linked to several blogs in the last couple of weeks. To gain credibility for your writing and content you might even have linked to top ranking blogs in the hopes to be linked back or gain more traffic for your blog. After all, if nobody sees what you're writing, how are you going to establish yourself?
We live in a winner-take-all environment. Think of American Idol, Survivor, etc. It's the people who get voted off the show or the island that create the buzz and publicity for the program and eventually help launch the career of the winners.
So what are your options? You could:
- Change the game -- this is another way of escaping competition by not entering the game by someone else's definition. How else can you look at a problem? Zig when everyone else is zagging.
- Create a new category -- What is missing in the marketplace? Is there a need or want that people could discover if you presented it to them in a compelling fashion? If you're smart enough, and do this right, this will allow you to be first. Think about a niche business, an underserved market segment. Ask your customers, or even better your competitor's customers. Note that the action verb is: create.
- Push through your challenges -- resilience can be good. It will help you develop certain muscles and train them so that next time you are facing a challenge, you have that memory to leverage. I'm talking about determination, perseverance, and faith in yourself. The bigger the challenge, the sweeter the reward. As long as you also learn to figure out whether it is time to invest more energy to continue your efforts, or it is best to let it go.
The secret is that you get to decide and plan your moves. Do you want to have staying power?