There’s a war going on right now.
Not in the geopolitical sense (though there are plenty of those). I’m talking about a war for our attention.
Attention, as Seth Godin pointed out, is quickly becoming the prized commodity online.
It’s getting harder and harder to come by. There are countless distractions fighting for it in our minds.
These distractions can pull you in a thousand different directions at once.
They can sweep you up in a current of sludge and clickbait and other time wasters.
They can drive you completely crazy, if you let them.
You can’t stop playing the marketing game. Business would dry up. But if you want to keep reaching people in a meaningful way, you can change how you play.
It sounds counterintuitive, but your best bet to thrive in today’s attention wasteland is to:
Stop trying to “win” the marketing game.
Most businesses are playing to win. They feel the increased competition and shortening attention spans all around them, and what do they do?
They go bigger. They make their copy and ads more sensational, hyping their products until they’re walking a gray line between lies and truth. They use flash to get attention and slick animations to keep it.
And then they wonder why their prospects don’t pull the trigger and buy from them!
This style over substance, Gawker-style approach to content creation makes me feel icky just writing about it.
Thankfully, you can go another route.
Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to “win” the marketing game. Forget about winning. Focus on surviving instead.
While your competitors blow their advertising budgets with expensive campaigns, you just keep plodding along. Understand and execute on the fundamentals, and you’ll win through the process of elimination.
Everyone else will self destruct. They’ll run out of money. Their audience will run out of patience. And they’ll destroy their prospects’ faith in them to provide the solutions they need.
You’ll find yourself at the finish line – with people ready and willing to pull out their credit cards and pay you – with hardly anyone else around.
Fundamentals will help you navigate the minefield of smart phones, Youtube, and other attention grabbers. They’ll lead you right into the minds, hearts (and wallets) of the people you want to do business with.
Playing the online marketing game today is a lot like playing a game of Frogger.
There’s no need to psyche yourself out trying to “win” in record-breaking fashion.
All you have to do is make it to the end unscathed.
Which, paradoxically, is the easiest way to win!