Tonight was an amazing night. Some friends and I went to see Eric Davis perform his one-man show, Red Bastard, at the Indy Fringe theatre. The show is amazing, captivating the audience and then slowly destroying each audience member one at a time.
During one portion of the show, members of the audience are asked what their dreams are… followed by questions about what they do. The Red Bastard then coaxes the person to take a step to walk away from what they do and make the step towards their dream. As some do it, the audience screams, “Bastard”. As others wince and avoid the step, they're pointed at by the audience and called “Chicken S**t”. The result is nothing short of amazing. Everyone in the audience fears being at the end of the Red Bastard's next focus.
What does this have to do with Marketing? More than you think.
This is a screenshot of a specific, common, very competitive keyword on Google Insights:
I met with a company last week whose core service is this specific keyword. The company has been spending a fortune (over $50k on one specific campaign) in traditional media since its inception. The cost of those campaigns has continued to increase over time and the results have been dwindling. They're now looking to online marketing to see if they can stop the hemorrhaging.
As I sat in the boardroom, there wasn't simply fear in the room at jumping into the online fray, there was disbelief and mistrust. This company wasn't simply in denial, they were actually embracing failure. Those at the table pushing to move forward (including myself) were arguably looked at as “Bastards”. Although the company fully recognizes that what they're doing isn't working, they continue to argue against moving online as an option.
It reminded me of being in the newspaper industry. I watched as some of the most intelligent leaders in the advertising industry watched eBay and Craigslist skyrocket and then scratch their heads in wonder as to why classified revenues were dropping.
I fully recognize companies acting out of fear and cautiously embracing new technology, but given the trends of consumers utilization of search and social media as primary methods of researching their next purchase… how can you possibly question the obvious? I don't mind companies embracing fear – but I'm shocked when companies continue to embrace failure.
If we lose the opportunity to move this company forward, I might be tempted to stand up and tell them what they really are….”Chicken S**t!” Red Bastard would be proud… or not.
Note: My apologies if you're offended at the obvious asterisks… it's all for the best. I'm also not opposed to traditional media – but understanding how trends in online behavior are changing consumer decision-making is key to adjusting your media expenditures. In this case, it's obvious that the consumers' interest in online solutions has dramatically increased.