Paralysis of Choice

Find a place to start and go for it

by Tracey Parsons |

It’s overwhelming isn’t it? All of the choices, developments, options, approaches, strategies, opportunities, challenges. Marketing today is really a lot to process. There are new tools, channels, strategies, platforms (and so on!) being released every week. It gets so overwhelming and almost scary, that it reminds me of standing in front of the cereal aisle in the grocery store. The number of choices available to me is almost paralyzing. When we are faced with more choices than we can process, it is so easy to seize up into a mental paralysis.

In moments of mental paralysis, it is so easy to do nothing. Because it just seems too big. But, let me be the one to remind you:

ParalysisDoing nothing is not a solution.

But, how can you do something when nothing seems way easier? I mean we are all already so bleeping busy that our heads spin and we cannot fit our actual current work within the day. But really, these are excuses. We are falling into an innovation trap and also being paid by the “no” when we get into these mental places. So, to overcome the mental paralysis of the marketing choices that fly at our faces every week, the answer, to me, is threefold.

1. Get laser focused on the right goal

When we get overwhelmed with choices, we can easily take our eye off the ball and set the wrong goal in front of us. Marketing is about growing awareness, engagement and at the end of the day, sales. We need to be able to contribute to the growth of the company. Our roles are designed to increase sales, to activate shoppers into customers, to create repeat customers. When selecting a new tactic or channel, you need to figure out how to relate the idea to the goal and then get laser focused on that goal of helping the company grow revenue.

2. Start small, but scalable

Once you have your goal dialed in, it’s time to think about your customers and potential customers. Think about where to start with two simple questions: Where are our customers hanging out and when would they be open to our message. This is the missing piece to so much social media marketing. The assumption is that: My customer is on Facebook. They probably are. Most people are. It is as mass as it gets these days…They problem is, people are not always receptive to a marketing message on a platform like Facebook. For example, if you are a b2b marketer, your audience is on Facebook, however, they might not be in professional mode on Facebook. So, be sure that you are asking both ends of that question to determine where you should test. And when you are ready to test, make sure you are doing it in a way that scales. When you start small, document the actions and results so that when you are able to expand the footprint, you are doing it in a scaled way based on earlier trial and error.

3. Find their “one thing”

Convince and convert needs to align with what the audience cares about that you can deliver against. So, what can your brand do to deliver value to the people who may need or want your product? This is the single most important question (to me) you can ask when you are considering social and content marketing. You should be almost consumed with identifying the “one thing” that your customers and prospective customers care about as it relates to your brand. And when you find that “one thing” you need to test it out on them. Make sure it is something they care about through small, controlled tests. And keep measuring the tests until you find the “one thing”. You’ll know when you’ve hit it because you will see spikes in the results based on the goals you set forth. Ask yourself, do you know what your customers’ and potential customers’ “one thing” is? If you do, share it in the comments. It could help inspire others.

It is so easy to get paralyzed by the volume of choice we face, but failing to act is not a solution. And, I do not see things letting up anytime soon in terms of new tools, technologies and tactics. So, find a place to start moving forward with small, scalable tests that are focused on achieving your company’s goals while you deliver value to the audience.


About the Author

Tracey Parsons

Since 1995, Tracey has been developing digital solutions. Currently SME Digital’s lead strategist, she continues to be dedicated to bringing cutting edge, thoughtful and measurable solutions to marketers. With more than 15 years in digital, Tracey not only brings vision, but the tools and strategies to execute against complex next generation concepts. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands to develop and devise cutting-edge social, mobile and digital marketing practices.