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Balancing the Win Now Mentality with Real Life
Written by Anthony Verre
Tuesday, 04 October 2011 20:17

While at BlueGlass TPA this year, Brian Clark (founder of CopyBlogger Media) and Jeremy Schoemaker (founder of ShoeMoney Media Group) led the session “Blog and News Optimization: How Publishers Can Dominate Google and Beyond”. Brian said something that struck a chord with me, “half the things you try will fail”. The problem is Brian is right.

The Culture of Win Now

Win Now” has become a pervasive mentality over the last 5 to 6 years in corporate/business culture. Like most major sports team in the last decade, owners and GMs are building teams for championships right now: star players, bank-busting payrolls, talent gelling to trump individual egos, etc. Teams are rarely built for the long run anymore because it’s a slow and methodical practice. Adding key pieces over a number of years to build a solid core of players. You might not win big right away or every year, but you’ll have success. The same is true of businesses and their expectations of online marketing; every strategy you put together, every action you take, are expected to WIN NOW.

The rise of social media has inherently increased these expectations to a feverish level; a couple blog posts, a tweet here and there, a few Facebook wall posts. And. Bam. Instant winning, instant online marketing success, and instant profits. Except, as Brain rightly pointed out, 50% of the time your efforts will fail. The rabid fan bases who call for the head of coaches, call for the ostracizing and shaming of players, call for the replacement of general managers who “just don’t know how to win” at the first inkling of failure. Businesses are given to the same type of over-reactions at the first sniff of failure. They don’t want excuses as how or why something didn’t achieve stratospheric success out of the gate; they simply know it didn’t. They’ll be calling for heads, they’ll be calling for assurances you’ve “fixed” it, they might even participate in shaming session in what many in-the-know refer to as a “Come to Jesus” meeting.

The question is, is there a way to have businesses see the light and let go of the WIN NOW mentality?


A Shovel-Full of Reality

WIN NOW is here to stay. “Fail fast” is buzz-word laden terminology much like its often ridiculed cousin “synergy”. Reality check: no business can afford to fail fast, or fail at all, even though they like to tell people they do and think it’s a novel concept. Because after the microphones are turned off, the cameras leave, and the screens go dark, it is all a bunch of words to make people believe you’re a classy organization. In a backroom somewhere, someone is being taken to task, someone is being held accountable. As much as we are being told by business gurus and online marketing gurus it’s perfectly acceptable to fail, as long as it’s quickly, the truth is it is not an option. Period.

Businesses at every level simply cannot afford “fail” in any dimension. Doing so costs the jobs of people you don’t know and have never met. Yes, that’s a lot of unfair pressure to on any organization or individual. We can have discussions that if a company is in that position, using SEO and online marketing as a magic bullet, then the business was bound to fail anyway. Or, if a business is putting that much pressure on a single marketing channel to keep it afloat, there are probably bigger issues at play. Nonetheless, the fact remains; fail has consequences. And, businesses that fail (both the service-provider and service-recipient) don’t stick around long enough to fail faster or better then next time around.


Bringing WIN NOW and Reality Together

If you’re raising your eyebrow or shaking your head, stop. It can be done. It’s done through expectation setting, it’s done through setting smaller, more attainable WIN NOWs.

Get Your Small Big Wins

You’ve got to quash the big, huge win talk right out of the gate. Lay the magic bullet to rest: there isn’t one. If you let your clients believe that with a flip of the switch everything gets fixed, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Sure, occasionally you can hit lightening in bottle, but more likely the case is your clients end up feeling lied to and pissed. They thought they were getting a one-way ticket to the Moon, and you barely broke 30,000 ft. Not a great position to be in. Instead, instill the vision of small big wins over longer periods. You’ve got to get clients to buy into the process of game planning to achieve specific goals with every strategy.

Or to keep our sports analogies, playing small ball. A bunt here, moving runner into scoring position there and you’re set up to score. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with SEO, PPC, or Social Media, each round of strategy/game planning is set up to reach certain goals (traffic, conversions, event sign-ups, etc). Do that well enough a few times over, and you win the game. It’s that simple.

Sure, it’s not sexy, it’s not flashy, but it works. And it definitely keeps everyone happy; clients love you because you deliver, you don’t over-promise and under-whelm. So, while we’re stuck with WIN NOW, there’s no need to feel trapped. Get your small big wins and make WIN NOW work for you.

Anthony Verre -

Anthony Verre is the founder and CEO of Silver Arc Search Marketing. Known at-large as "The Milwaukee SEO" . He has worked in search engine optimization and search marketing for over 5 years. He also writes a blog on search marketing, search engine optimization, and social media marketing news and opinion called The Milwaukee SEO.

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