I have been writing this blog post for the last 5 years. No, I haven’t been actually writing this post for that long, but I have been preparing to write this post for nearly that long. You see I have been a strategist a long time in Internet years. I have put many of those strategies together, and I am happy to say that many of them actually worked, but I must also say unfortunately, some of them and I should say more than I care to admit have probably failed. I tried most of these ideas and “campaigns” on my own company and used myself as the test subject. I have always tried them in my own marketing, advertising and public relations and as I said, some work and some don’t. This post is not about the “try” or “the idea”, but the execution.
Many colleagues out there are expert strategists. Many charge a pretty penny to come up with a strategy. In fact, I too charge for that, and some would say (you know who you are) not nearly enough, but that is for a another post. There are some great plans drawn out on the whiteboard of board rooms, and there are some bar napkins that I would like to have in a shadow box case as many of our greatest companies started there. My company in fact was sort of started as a dare I think one night after having had too many drinks. Having a good job and a stable company to work for, why would I ever jump into the entrepreneurial pool? I blame the alcohol.
“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
All of us have the best mousetrap. That is our strategy. We have the best way things can be done and the way that they should be done according to our extensive research and study. For my extensive study and research, (please see the archives here for a start) I have tried and failed and taken those ideas that have been most successful. Some of it is still theory after all social media has been around less than some of my young children. Given what we know of facts and how they are applied to each circumstance, all of the strategies seem to be close to the same Plan A or Plan B depending on which consultant or agency you happen to speak with about your company and needs.
I have noticed a trend based on some of the ideas and strategies implemented. When companies are happy with a certain strategy it is only after the execution stage. Most of them are all excited and gung-ho when the strategy is discussed and laid out in front of them, but the truly satisfied are not such until after the plan has been put into place and the results come to fruition. Be it as simple as starting a company blog, setting up a comment policy, providing a podcast, or research on community outreach and providing that service and seeing your first conversion, the elation comes when the plan is executed. It can be even more rewarding when a multifaceted and long and expensive journey has been commenced.
I am known for providing a sports metaphor now and then and this is not much different so I apologize for this ahead of time if you hate those. If I draw a play in the sand and at the snap of the football all goes to hell in a hand basket, the best laid plan pf x’s and o’s is not going to get me points on the board. But when you truly make a plan, draw out a play and then deliver the ball to the end zone, all are happy and we get to celebrate with high fives all around. Seems pretty simple. The problem has always been execution. As consultants or strategist are you executing your plan? When was the last time you were in the end zone?