Conversation Marketing: The Conversation is the Thing

Christine Fife

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Don’t Try to Boil The Ocean: You’ll Just Kill the Fish

Think instead about the pool you swim in and focus your efforts there

If only there were more hours in the day… I probably still wouldn’t get around to blogging more. But two things kicked me in the backside today and got me motivated. First, the #sm51 tweetchat (guest @johncass with topic Importance of Content and Engagement Strategy in Social Media) and second, Seth Godin’s blog post today, Driveby Culture and the Endless Search for Wow.

Since there aren’t more hours in the day, why do some people and businesses try to boil the ocean?

Recently I’ve taken on a new client in an industry that is completely new for me, which is super exciting for me, skin care services and products. From business and marketing perspectives they have a lot going for them, but they also have a lot of challenges they’ll need to overcome to take their business to the next level. One of the main issues for this client, and many of the challenges they face have arisen because of this, is that they’ve inadvertently been trying to boil the ocean.

If you haven’t heard this phrase before, it’s used as an illustrative term for saying you’re trying to do too much—perhaps to the point of detriment. In the case of my new client, they have so much going on they aren’t really seeing results from anything. They’re stretched so thin they can’t devote enough time to any of their initiatives. Their ideas are good, but they don’t have the budget or man power to do it all. They’re messaging is also going in too many directions at once to try and hit every possible audience so it becomes muddled and confusing. They have a great story, but aren’t telling it with focus to a targeted audience.

Whether your a small startup just getting things going, your a mid-size company in growth-mode or your a big corporation, the ocean is a big pool! Think about the pool you swim in and focus your efforts there. Don’t try to do everything at once. Don’t stretch your budget and human resources across too many tactics. Base your marketing decisions on your annual business goals (with longer-term goals in site). Choose a strategic marketing direction that is within your budget and human resources. Select your marketing tactics, activities and tools that are manageable within your resources and make sense for your audience. As your business grows, so will the size of your pond!

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More Stories By Christine Fife

As I drove off to college I never would have guessed I would end up here! But it’s been a fantastic journey. My career has been richly diverse giving me an advantage over marketers who are siloed into niche positions. I strive to be a true Renaissance person—I love to learn about everything and trying new things comes naturally. My career has been no different; I’ve successfully launched enterprise software and medical device development startups, improved communications processes for the regulatory department of a major financial exchange, increased client business and product development for several international exchange program companies and founded an international educational non-profit organization. My master’s degree in Integrated Marketing from Golden Gate University gave me a broad understanding of traditional marketing best-practices, but my BA in theater gave me the skills to understand how people communicate with one another and the importance of promoting a brand in a voice that is right for the audience.

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