Beware Bright Shiny Object Strategies
I’ve written several blog posts on “Strategy Killers”. Elements or actions I believe hobble a marketing plan before it starts. Previously I cautioned about Speed which compels us to rush into executing without considering options. In another I talked about briefs which include everything but the kitchen sink. Successful marketing and strategy must remain single-minded, kitchen sink briefs don’t allow that.
Recently I’ve seen another Strategy Killer which friends in the pure-play digital arena likely endure the most. That is the dreaded BSO Syndrome or Bright Shiny Object strategy.
“We’re a retail chain so we absolutely must have FourSquare”
“Women account for 56% of our sales so I’m expecting to see Pinterest on the plan”
“Our target is young, mobile and often uses public transit. We gotta plaster high-traffic areas with QR codes and digital OOH to get them to pay attention.”
“Peer recommendations drive our category. I want guests to be able to tell all their friends via Facebook what a great meal they just had. Better yet, can we create an app that lets them photograph their meal and upload that.”
“We merely need to activate folks with a decent Klout score. Do that and our job is done.”
None of these tactics are inherently wrong. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make them right either.
The volume of noise (and widely distributed Infographics) that surrounds each new platform is deafening. Each PR release evokes language synonymous with the Second Coming. Yet our job must be to judiciously examine if the latest new platform/tool/device actually satisfies a genuine customer need…and if that need actually intersects a legitimate business challenge we have. At Organic we spoke of Business Empathy meeting Customer Empathy. If your new platform genuinely exists at that intersection, awesome!! If not, you might be suffering from BSO.
I can’t deny that there are incredible new platforms out there. Some that are solving business and consumer problems in remarkable and fresh ways. Personally I’ve become a fan of Pinterest and the traction it has quickly gained. Conversely I’m concerned about all the discussion of copyright infringements and lawsuits that circle it too. There’s a classic case of weighing up the options versus blindly rushing in.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the energy, exhuberance and “what if” that surrounds a new platform. I placed bets on FourSquare over Instagram so that shows just how credible my opinion is. The point being is we all need to avoid the BSO Syndrome. Diligence and discipline must be the order of the day. Personally I’ve not seen a drop-off in my emails or statement stuffers. That must mean even those lowly tactics still have a place in our new world. Don’t let Bright and Shiny blind you to the due diligence required Dear Reader.
What’s your favourite BSO moment? Has your strategy ever avoided a tactic because it wasn’t new or novel? Any particular time you found yourself chasing the latest fad? I’d love to hear about it.