Why Being a Hypocrite Makes Me a Better Marketer.
“There is nothing worse than a hypocrite…” or so I used to say.
When I was a teenager, I had a fantastic badminton coach who was seemingly much more concerned with the content of our character than our ability to win a title. In hindsight, I didn’t know how lucky I was back then. I’ve since held his lessons exceptionally close to my heart and often check my life decisions against what I think he would have done. One of his greatest lessons to us was that there is nothing worse than a hypocrite.
For the past 20 years, I’ve operated in business and in life with the objective of avoiding hypocrisy - always being sure to make the kinds of decisions that would hopefully reinforce my moral character, thereby proving my unquestionable honesty and securing my cozy seat up on the moral high-ground. It’s so fun to sit up there, isn’t it? With all of the glory of a perfectly calibrated moral compass and a squeaky clean, unblemished background.
Happy to expend the extra energy required to avoid ever accidentally contradicting myself, I revelled in the glory that my word was my bond, always - without question - no exceptions. Ever. Until recently.
5 Marketing Truths That Will Make You A Hypocrite
For years, I’ve been committed to learning the latest digital marketing strategies and tactics but since 2016, I upped my learning investment to a daily practice. Yes, daily. I have resources, teachers and experts that I consult every.single.day (except for Saturdays but still including Sundays) to ensure that I’m up to speed on the latest information when it comes to how to best serve our clients. If that sounds exhausting to you, I don’t blame you. It happens to be exhilarating to me! Understanding where people are spending their time and how they’re consuming information is most definitely beyond an obsession. It’s one of the great joys of my life. (And likely indiciative of how much I LOVE attention!).
Being committed to learning and deploying only the most current information when it comes to digital marketing inevitably leads to a few truths:
Truth 1: You are going to spend A LOT of time learning. (See above).
Truth 2: You are going to spend even more time educating.
Truth 3: Your brain is going to need to take breaks. Let it.
Truth 4: Long-term marketing planning is less important than testing and evaluating.
Truth 5: Things are going to change. Which means what you said last year, last month or last week may not work anymore. (Alternate wording for Truth 5: You’ll be a hypocrite).
Defend or Learn?
In December of 2017, everyone was going bananas about the importance of video on Facebook.
I even made a Facebook video about the importance of Facebook video. I turned static images into animations! I vowed not to post a static photo ever again. I certainly would not have been caught dead posting a link to an outside source (like my blog). I ascended up the hill of marketing moral high ground and planted my stake in the ground… after all, my research was clear and this was the way to go! Until…. It wasn’t.
Enter the Facebook algorithm change announced in January of 2018 de-prioritizing the reach of pre-recorded video! (Note: the algorithm still favours live video). I promptly brushed up on the algorithm change, pulled my flag from the ground and descended the hill to brush myself off. Just one month after I had published advice encouraging Facebook video, I had new advice and it was in direct opposition of what I had said the month before.
I had two choices:
Get to work finding any and all support I could to validate my original claim and not be a hypocrite.
Admit that things had changed, my prior advice no longer stood true and get comfortable with possibility of being called a hypocrite from time to time.
The minute I got comfortable with the notion that my position is open for discussion, my mind immediately became more open to possibility. Rather than defending the idea of being an “expert”, I became immediately committed to the idea that being a student is more important. In the days where one algorithm change can crumble an entire industry, being an expert is highly overrated. Being an expert implies you already know everything that there is to know. In digital, there’s no such thing because innovation and change are just moving way too fast.
Once you start to think about your marketing strategy as fluid and responsive, you open your business up to the opportunity to really listen to your audience and learn what matters to them TODAY! Not what mattered to them last month or last year. You give yourself the opportunity to build real relationships by understanding what actually matters to them. And you give your audience the opportunity to get more from you than just a sales pitch. WIn-Win-Win.
Long gone are the days where you publish a marketing campaign and wait 6 months to evaluate and test its effectiveness. Today’s marketer is a student. They are constantly running tests. They change their minds. They are a honest when their methods aren’t working anymore.
Today’s marketer is a hypocrite… and we are better for it.
Are you comfortable being a hypocrite? We want to know!! Tell us in the comments if you've ever contradicted yourself for the better.
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