No doubt, you're familiar with the phrase "running around like a chicken with its head cut off." In fact, if you work in media, marketing, advertising, PR or (let's face facts) just about any industry at all you're more than just familiar with the phrase -- you might be a living embodiment of it.
For the past few years, we ran around trying to get ahead of the proverbial topple of "old marketing" and get up to speed on all of the new media goodies we now had at our disposal -- from web video to social media, and everything in between. Sadly, for many this amounted to little more than a series of pointless sprints across the shifting sands of early adoption. We'd read an article about some hot new Web 2.0 tactic or catch wind that a key competitor was trying something "innovative," and we were off and running. But rarely did we look where we were going, or even look around to figure out where we were starting out. I can't even count the number of times I ranted (on this blog) or advised clients to slow down and take a more measured, more strategic approach to new marketing -- not to the detriment of progress, but for the betterment of the business.
And now we've got the current round of economic woes to deal with as well. They're certainly cause for concern. Budgets are being slashed, people are losing their jobs, entire companies are going out of business. Scary times. Client-side marketers are scrambling to cut-cut-cut-cut-cut. All of those experimental tactics that they couldn't wait to try before the recession are now being left on the cutting room floor. If you're an agency-side marketer (whether traditional, digital, social or PR) you're probably so afraid of being slashed along with those cutting-floor-things that you're killing yourself to over-service your clients for less money than they paid you last year.
I get it... Times are tough, and we all need to do what we need to do in order to survive.
But here's the sad truth about chickens with their heads cut off -- they can run around all they want; they're still gonna die.
The good news is that you're (probably) smarter than a chicken. If you're really smart (and the company you work for is smart too), you probably already had a hard times plan in place long before the economy took a downward turn. You exercised a bit of foresight and managed to keep your neck away from the blade -- maybe you had a few feathers plucked but at least you still have your head.
Now might be a good time to use it. Stop running around in a state of panic. There is plenty of chaos already (in the world, in your industry, probably in your company as well) -- nobody needs you to create more chaos. But others can probably use your help in creating order.
- Take a deep breath.
- Think about what needs to get done.
- Come up with a reasonable plan to do it.
- And then do it... and do it well.
As I read those four sentences, they seem laughably simple. But is there really any other way? Has there really ever been any other way?