“We’ll drop this puppy off the roof and see if it bounces.” That’s what John Borthwick, of Betaworks, recently told PandoDaily about his plan to resurrect Digg, the on-fire-then-dead-then-back-again news discovery platform. His goal in this approach was to identify the “real uniques”, meaning the users – or, “lovers”, as he calls them – of the site that actually care for it. Brand advocates, basically. The ones who will recommend the service without being prodded and incentivized. This, along with another article that I’ve racked my brain trying to find again (with no luck, damnit!), got me thinking about what really matters. That second article was about the silliness of startups focusing so much on gathering thousands of emails/sign-ups for their launch, when they’d be better served engaging with a few targeted customers who care enough to provide quality feedback in the early days. Do clicks or pageviews matter? Probably, at least somewhat. Not every action can lead directly to a sale. That being said, we’d ALL be better off if we began stripping away the bullshit and focusing on what really matters relative to our established business (and life) goals. Small example – through some informal testing and analysis, I’ve quickly come to realize that getting a potential client on the phone or, better yet, in person for a face-to-face, always yields better results. That’s the end game. So, I’ve made it my one main call-to-action on both my newly designed websites (here and here).
Can we redefine engagement, please? The most fun I’ve had researching and writing a white paper was for (Your Approach To) Social Sucks. (Partly because I threw in a random reference to Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By” on the title slide – video below for you old school hip hop heads.) Look, I’m a realist and definitely don’t expect every Facebook post to address highly debated world problems, but shit, maybe we can raise our collective expectations just a bit? An image of a cartoon cat (see page 3 in the link above) or a mindless Instagram pic that gets 40k+ likes and comments may not be the holy grail of consumer life enrichment we all wax poetic about in our case studies. I guess this is simply a call for marketers to be a bit more bold and purposeful. And just so you don’t think I’m a party pooper, I absolutely love fun and playful social activity, just not easy lay-ups that inflate “user engagement statistics”.