On the sun-splashed asphalt of our local high school, I saw visual demonstration that proves that sometimes the direct approach to solving a problem may not always be the best course. Typical male thinking, right?
Generally, guys don’t want to talk about problems, they want to fix them. Guilty as charged. And that’s the general issue about how some companies go about their marketing.
Working in agency marketing/pr/social media/whatever you want to call it these days, we’re hired to solve a problem – build awareness, increase sales, suppress a crisis, tackle an issue, etc.
There I sat at a four-way intersection, waiting to pick up my daughter from a mid-afternoon summer music class. Cars to my left and my right were stacking up, some leaving with and some arriving to pick up their kids. No one seemed to be able to move.
Waiting there, I quickly noticed a pattern. In an area with five rows of parking spaces and an outer access way, all the cars, and I mean all of them, were converging on just one row of spaces closest to the door where the kids were exiting. Yet, with all that available real estate, no one thought of going out of their way just for a few seconds more to circumvent the choke point to access the pick up line.
Finding an opening, I went straight and made the wider arc, bypassing the bulk of the traffic. This got me to the front door where my daughter was just coming out. I pulled up. The car door opened and closed and we were on our way home. All of it was accomplished faster than some of the cars that arrived before I did, but instead of jockeying for position in that single, cramped row of parking, I drove a greater distance, but got my result more quickly.
I realized that what I did physically was what we need to do more of with our marketing. Instead of trying to cram in where everyone else is, we need to take a wider view of the landscape to see where the opportunities for access are. That means taking a longer pause and a harder look at your position in relationship to everyone else’s.
This “do-it-now, get-it-done-yesterday” attitude of business is only getting worse. I’m not saying don’t hustle. We have the tools to get more stuff done faster, but in the same vein, those same tools shouldn’t force us to truncate the processes of discovery and research.
Similar to many women who like to discuss and talk out issues, what we men tend to do, rather than assess and discuss, might actually deliver a less informed and slower action. Active observation and listening can deliver a faster result.
How actively do you observe before setting off in a particular direction?