Seven is a prime number and the sum of the first four Fibonacci numbers. There are seven colors of the rainbow, seven days in the week, seven continents, and seven directions: north, south, east, west, up, down, center. The seven new wonders of the world voted online in what was said to be the largest poll ever included the Colosseum in Rome.
This is my response to the recent meme that has been making the rounds - thanks to Marc Meyers, Michael Haberman, Brian Branca, and Annie Hackenberger for thinking of me. You will forgive me, I tend not to follow the rules too closely.
Instead let's have a conversation about some observations on execution, which I do think will be the one must for 2009.
As we discussed yesterday, we are now using collective filtering tools and visualizations with teams and networks to discover patterns in large, complex systems faster - and trigger faster collective responses.
Twitter is just one example of how that works. There are plenty of other ways - online and off line.
1) Real depends on the point of view - for example, whether you listen to Gary Vaynerchuk or find Alfonso Cevola amazingly insightful and interesting, they are both wine guys and they both feel real. I connect better with the Italian Wine Guy, for many reasons. Do you know what's real for your customers? What's their point of view?
2) Right depends on context - we are not ready to be sold to until we're ready to buy. What's right then depends on timing and frame of mind. That's why relationships are so important and why you must have a different approach - the world is not waiting for your message anymore. It's looking for inspiration, education, engagement, connection (or dis-connection).
3) Respect is earned - why would anyone pay attention to you when you are not paying attention to them? The old ways of marketing are definitely on the decline. Respect is earned every day. People have long memories - your actions will follow you long after the troubles are gone.
4) Truth depends on personal values - if we become better listeners, we will learn to embrace the truths of our customers and communities. Having values and beliefs of our own is important as long as we are not hardened around them or hold them as a weapon.
5) Patience is a virtue - especially if you're going to do things your way. Staying on purpose is more important than staying on message. People respond well to the former, not so readily to the latter. Better yet, make your purpose the message - it's like making the product your marketing.
6) Failure is not terminal - you might however feel like you're forever waiting at a terminal if you are so afraid to make a mistake that you're not even trying. Ask yourself: what is the worst that could happen? Nothing happens as a result of so many marketing programs. Try something different.
7) Criticism comes easier than craftsmanship - yes, even from those who tell you they "hate" people who criticize. Sweet irony, but we are terrible at taking our own advice. Craftsmanship takes time. How about all of those competitive ads? Use kind words or no words at all. Stand on your own merits.
My personal challenge to you marketing types (aren't we all in marketing these days anyway?) is:
How can we raise above the fray? How can we use our gifts and talents to lead instead of following?
How can we show respect to our customers (and each other - we are all different and bring something valuable to the table) so that we may be fully engaged and inspire engagement?
How can we work together to built a support grid for commerce and people to thrive? As Tom Peters puts so well, it's always "the people". How can we help create a better world? Not just sell one.
- Merry Christmas -
[image courtesy of Darwin Bell]