Digital Marketing: You are the Game Board

I love this book:  The Art of Possibility by the Zanders*.  It’s a fun read, and it helps you escape your self-imposed limitations.  Is it Gospel?  Is it Science?  Maybe neither of those – but it’s a great, subversive little book.

Chapter 10 is entitled “Being the Board.”  It’s a mindset, viewing daily life as a game, but which says “I am the game board.  Everything that is happening around me, or to me, is happening on my board.”  It’s a way of staying connected to, and responsible for, what happens, instead of (for example) seeing yourself as helpless, trapped, a victim, etc.

OK, Oprah.  What does this have to do with Digital Marketing?

We meet with prospective clients all the time.  They want to promote their businesses online.  Most of them have been doing it for years.  But as busy business people, they delegated too much – just telling their digital agencies to “take care of it.”  As a result, they don’t have access to their own:

  • Google My Business page. It’s there – someone set it up – nobody can remember who;
  • Years of history that someone has access to – but nobody knows who;
  • The client has spent $49,000 on AdWords in the past year, but none of it is in his or her account.  No access to performance history, keywords, search terms, etc.
  • Domain registrar. Websites go dark and everyone must scramble to prove that they are really the domain owner.  Panic is never fun.

And worst of all:

  • Client can’t articulate, on one sheet of paper, his or her key messages, to key audiences. When the messaging is blurry, almost everything in your marketing is going to suffer; and finally,
  • If every message is your message – if you are the tech innovator, and also the low cost leader, and also provide the best and most intimate customer experience, and also … if you are everything to everyone, then your message is null.

Being the Board

game-board-graphic2It’s just a change in mindset.  If I am the game board, then I just take a little time to make sure that:

  • I understand what I am getting for my marketing expenditures. I am keeping score.
  • I follow up to see that what was supposed to happen, actually happened. If the plan was to take steps A > B > C > D, before we move to step B, did A deliver the expected results?  If not, stay on A – don’t rush off to step B.
  • Accounts, passwords, etc. that are used, are mine. I delegate access, but never let it go.
  • I make sure that I understand what is happening. I don’t let myself get dazzled or worn down by marketing buzzwords and data.  It has to make sense to me.

The Power of Pencil and Paper

It doesn’t have to be complicated.  I think of Tom Wilson, in Tucson, who can open a desk drawer, pull out a notebook, and show you how many leads he generated online in March of 2006, for how much money.  He writes it down, every month, without fail. Pencil and paper.

If anyone is pitching digital marketing for attorneys to Tom, as soon as Tom opens one of his notebooks, they know that Tom is the game board.  We will be playing by Tom’s rules, not ours.  Tom won’t claim to know more than everyone about digital marketing – but it’s his game board, nonetheless.

When you adopt this mindset that “I am the game board” then you find that you worry less, blame less, and learn more, and faster.  That’s the name of the game.

It’s a Game-Changer

Is there some area of your digital marketing that is chronically out of control?  Spending money unpredictably?**  Murky as to whether it is delivering value or not?  A constant source of anxiety?  Be the game board and you will find that it changes everything.

*You can also watch the Zanders on YouTube.

**Read our article for more about keeping a campaign budget tight and not letting Google’s predictive search overrun your CPC.