“but if you try sometimes, you’ll find you get what you need” (Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed, 1969) YouTube
The song definitely dates me, and what it says is a little sarcastic when it comes to digital marketing. BUT… in this case the sarcasm is actually true. There are two views here, the obvious first impression “you ain’t gonna get what you want (unless you need it)”. If you turn this around, the advice says you can get what you need. But the big IF: “but if you try sometimes…” which means even if you don’t really get what you want, when you need it you may get it.
How Is This Related to Digital Marketing?
This is my experience, but the theme keeps on repeating itself. Almost everyone I meet in person “wants” digital content written and social media management. Everyone feels the digital world and presence as a needed component. But, when you scratch a little deeper, it turns out that most people don’t really “need” digital marketing. The two classes that come to mind first are:
- The traditional non-digital managers and workers.
- The non-digital company using traditional marketing and sales methods.
Modernizing Non-Digital Managers and Staff
Traditionally companies trained their staff and executives when a new tool or technique was introduced. But with the digital change, we have seen a classic paradigm shift more than simple change (see also dictionary definition). Saying you know what it means to have a paradigm shift is worlds away from actually identifying it and understanding this change. We all know of the political and social shifts of the past: revolutions, philosophies, even social-economic shifts, but unfortunately most of us have not experienced or actually studied them enough. Also history may not be helpful enough in today’s context. If you are religious and know the exodus biblical story, you may think you know what it was like to go from slavery to freedom, but that was not enough to shorten the century long period America has experienced from Lincoln to Kennedy. This simple often told example is only one of the many shifts we know: democracy, free enterprise, industrial revolution, printing and publishing, and many more. It may turn out we are living in a time where digital communication is as much of a paradigm shift as earlier ones.
Therefore we may not be able to avoid the difficulties of changing people’s actions and beliefs. If the digital work shift is like changing religions for you, this means lots of work. If it’s like getting a job in another state, where you simply buy a new home and call the movers, than you need to work less. If it’s like learning a foreign language and buying a dictionary and taking a class, you will have an easier time. These are approximate personal (individual) paradigm shifts. All of these cases happen on a daily basis. Some are rare (new religion) and require tenacity and effort. Some are common and simply require time and money. Regardless of your personal situation, first be aware of where you are and what you want to accomplish. More honest you are with yourself, and better your plan, less frustrated you will be.
The Non-Digital Company Paradigm Shift
If it’s hard for individual to make their own paradigm shift, it’s even harder for companies. Think of a number of individuals who need to make the shift, where on simply does not see the challenge and opportunity. Companies can’t force anyone to change a great deal. If one executive is not able to change, he may stop the rest. If the top leader (not necessarily the executive, could be technologist, business leader) does not want to make the shift, she will lead the followers at NOT SHIFTING. We always think of leaders as “DOING SOMETHING”, here is the case where they “DON’T WANT TO DO SOMETHING”. This state of being stuck in the past is actually more common than we think.
This simple and slow explanation of what you want and what you need seem to happen much faster and more intensly today. Yet it’s the same as any other shifts and large changes in our lives. This is the difference between “just wanting something” when you need someone to simply manage a social media account or write blog articles. Yet the one who has a complex product and sells only with direct sales meetings also needs to somehow write about the product. Both cases are “you don’t always get what you want” essentially, you are not selling like Alibaba or Amazon or even eBooks like O’Reilly Media. Next question people ask is “how do I become a person or company which really needs digital marketing and sales?”