Nineteen

Here are some things you probably didn’t know about 19:

  • It’s the atomic number of potassium. Go here to learn what the heck an atomic number is.
  • That’s how many kids the TLC network’s Jim Bob and Michelle Dugger have (as of this writing).
  • 19 miles is 30.6 kilometers. I rounded. And yes, I had to look it up.
  • Our firm’s 19th anniversary is today, April Fool’s Day. But, for real.

You know what else happened in 1994? Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Pressley. Kurt Cobain died. So did Nixon. And, San Francisco hosted the first conference devoted entirely to the subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web. Had a lot of potential it turns out.

While half of everybody’s staff grew up alongside the web, many of the decision makers in organizations we work with tell us that they have felt late to the online party for years, that being in permanent catch up mode is exhausting, that getting strategic with social / digital resources in a way that drives business goals is an abstraction, and that everybody but them has their online act together and they would be in a shame spiral about it all if they just had the time.

Here’s the thing: You can catch up, keep up and get ahead. Even you. Today. And, do better in this area than many of your peers who are executing social on a tactical level with nothing rooted in a strategic plan with well-stated goals that drive to business results.

In 2008, I attended a meeting of the Worldcom Group in Montreal where Jay Baer was a on a panel and he said something that stuck in my head and hurried me back to our Kansas City office to tell Linda Word our creative director and my business partner (of 19 years!): “Privacy is over.”

What’s that got to do with web / digital / online / social? That statement said to me that the world where reporters, guest columns, paid ads, sales people, direct mail, presentations, brochures, or your file cabinet of a website do all the one-way selling of your service or product is about to get a social shove. Organizations from the top down have to come out from behind their desktops and engage. That meant me (and you), too.

Not everything changed. Social is still just one of the channels used to go to market. You still have to impose the same strategic planning discipline as with all other marketing – start with research and analysis, determine your well-stated goal, understand your audiences, establish metrics, and measure your results.

You may have been in business longer than 19 years and not exactly an early adopter. Or, you may be a 19-year-old budding entrepreneur bristling with social tools. For you both, plan and measure. Everyone can do that and it works.