When I was getting my dog, I asked for the puppy that was the most mischievous and got into the most trouble. Everyone laughed. But my thinking was that she’d be the smartest and healthiest of the bunch. Certainly training her was, at best, an arduous experience. In the end, however, I got an exceptionally intelligent, funny, and loyal companion.
There is a lesson here, I think, for developing effective, revenue-producing marketing campaigns.
- When we look at the panoply of marketing techniques and media from which to choose (time and resources being limited, after all; we can’t do everything), should we necessarily choose the ones “everyone” is choosing? Not all social media platforms work for all businesses. Not all statistical models work for all circumstances, particularly in this economy and marketplace. And so on.
- Is the seemingly smoothest short-term path necessarily the best longer-term strategy? As I’ve discussed elsewhere, even the most apparently brilliant tactic can have a devastating effect on a business strategy. Have you thought through the down-the-road potential consequences of the path you’ve chosen?
- No matter what tactic or path we take in business or in marketing, it is going to require a commitment of time and resources. So are we better off putting more time and effort at the front-end – serious thought, strategy definition and planning, carefully tailored implementation planning – than by following the “training” guides and guidelines the pundits and gurus prescribe?
To me, the basic question comes down to this:
When you pick your dog, do you look for the passive puppy or the one who’ll give you a run for your money?
When you design your business and marketing strategy, do you go with the easy way – following the current common wisdom – or do you challenge yourself to go beyond the accepted norms, to think for yourself, to dare to be different, to self-define the limits of what is possible?
I think you’ll find the most successful companies have chosen the difficult puppy.