Shiny Object Syndrome: SOS! Saving Your Marketing

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saving your marketing from SOS

Being creative in marketing isn’t easy. Not only does it require, um, creativity, but it also requires focus.

Just ask anyone who works in marketing what his or her biggest challenges are, and it’s quite likely that “being easily distracted” is going to be near the top of their lists.

Maybe even at the very top.

In the marketing world, we call that “Shiny Object Syndrome,” and trust me, it’s a real thing.

The shiny object takes on a variety of forms – a marketing tool, a social media platform, and so on. It’s innovative and new and it offers promises, such as making your job easier or more productive.

In reality, the shiny object often ends up being something which completely derails you, either temporarily or permanently, from your goals.

And when you’re in marketing and your goal involves generating revenue, getting off track is never a good idea.

In an article entitled, “Eeek! Shiny Object Syndrome!” Karyn Greenstreet describes the many challenges shiny objects create for marketing professionals, including the following:

countless hours and dollars are wasted in pursuit of the new, shiny object without having thought through whether this new item, technique, service or product is “right” for your business.

The trouble with shiny objects is that they really do look appealing.

And who among us doesn’t think about trying something new every once in a while? Remembering to use discretion when tempted by the shiny objects is key.

saving your marketing from SOS

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re tempted by the latest shiny and exciting new marketing “toy”:

1) Does the shiny object fit in with my company’s overall marketing strategy?

It’s important to keep your business’ long-range marketing goals in mind. Most likely, your current marketing model is based on past results. If the strategy you have in place is working well, then a new marketing tool or concept is probably not going to be worth the risk.

2) Does my business have the time and/or resources to thoroughly test this shiny object?

Most shiny objects come with an “offer you can’t refuse.” Otherwise known as a free trial period, this is one of the most effective marketing tactics ever. I’m pretty sure marketers love “freebies” more than anyone else in an organization.

Since money may not appear to be the immediate concern in these cases, the challenge becomes more about the time and resources needed to try out the new tool or product. When you analyze the costs involved with these factors, you may find out that the “costs” are much higher than you initially expected.

3) Will the shiny object benefit my customers?

When it comes down to it, this is the most important question of all. Shiny objects are notorious for removing your focus…and sometimes, they take you away from doing what’s right for your current customers. It’s not uncommon. Chasing after new and improved ways to find new clients, or making your current marketing workload more manageable, may seem more important at the time…until you find yourself losing clients.

Hopefully, your business has a well-balanced marketing team which properly handles customer satisfaction along with your other marketing responsibilities. If not, you may reconsider chasing after the shiny object – at least for now – until you have the time and resources.

Over to you

First off, let me say there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to try out the “latest and greatest” tools.

You just never know when you’re going to find a great marketing solution which benefits your company, your clients…and you. Just remember to stay focused for best results.

What types of experiences and results have you had with shiny objects?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…please feel free to leave your comments below.


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Jennifer Hanford

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Category: Business, Marketing, Online Marketing, ,
Tags: business, marketing, Online marketing, , Strategy
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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Great points Jennifer. I think we often confuse “being innovative” or “cutting edge” with shiny objects. Yes they can be useful, but they have to fit your goals and ultimately benefit the client. There will always be the next big thing that everyone falls in love with, but we can’t let it allow us to lose our focus on what’s really important.

    • Well put, Josh. That’s a great way to explain the difference between the two. Some “shiny objects” end up being huge time savers and excellent marketing tools in the long run! But it all comes down to staying focused on what’s important – your clients and business.

      Thanks for insights and comments!

  • Oars to Keep You Afloat in Social Media Marketing Quicksand - More In Media
    April 13, 2015 9:16 AM

    […] are new sites and tools that come to light every single day and you should avoid the Shiny Object Syndrome as explained by Jennifer Hanford. There is no need to know about all of them as they are created. […]

  • […] talked about Shiny Object Syndrome […]


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