Getting Over The Lazy

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How will brands and agencies adapt?

You wind up seeing/reading a lot of content online around this time year that speaks to the coming years and what brands and agencies should expect in terms of disruptions, predications, new channels and shinier and brighter objects. Media has fundamentally changed. We all know this (and if you’re reading this, you’re smack dab in the middle of it). The true adaption for brands and agencies will not be about how smart they are with their creative or whether or not they’re doing clever things in spaces like Twitter or Facebook. True adaptation will come from how well they get over the lazy.

Getting over the lazy.

Marketers on the brand side either manage (and involve) themselves in an agency relationship or they manage and involve themselves with an internal marketing team. Most see Digital Marketing and Social Media as a new channel to integrate versus a new layer that lies at the foundation of all marketing initiatives. While there are some marketing professionals who truly are pushing into this brave new world and doing what they can to build platforms for the one screen world and work with utilitarianism marketing opportunities, there is still a mass majority who are lazy. Maybe "lazy" is a bad choice of words (it is an attention getter), but a majority of marketers are simply doing everything that they have always done. Primarily, they’re relying on people who make very traditional media decisions and then execute it – uniformly – across all media platforms… because all media platforms are the same… right?

It’s a big mistake… and it’s going to cost us… all of us.

We’re not talking about imploding everything. There is no doubt that certain strategies and tactics work, but it’s the lazy mentality that has got me down these days. I get that most marketers don’t keep their jobs for more than twenty months. I get that most agencies are dropped, changed or sent back to re-pitch the business every eighteen months or so, but this should not be an excuse to just let the media direct how and where to spend the marketing money. Is there ROI in Digital Marketing? Is there ROI in Social Media? The answer is yes… but marketing professionals are asking the wrong question and getting a bad outcome because of it.

What is the right question?

Are you willing to do the long, hard and disruptive work or creating a brand ecosystem that you can truly measure? You see, the tools, technology and strategies exist. You can measure every link, image or channel that you’re thinking about engaging with, the challenge is that you need to create a formal framework (which will detail what you’re trying to accomplish, how you’re going to measure it and the economic value that it will bring). From that framework comes the even harder work of deploying it throughout the organization (getting everyone from the c-suite down) to agree and to be apart of this new marketing movement towards optimization and efficacy. And, if that wasn’t hard enough, once you overcome those hurdles, you have to actually do the work. Not just once. But constantly and consistently. You have to wake up in the morning – each and every day – with a smile on your face and say to yourself (and your team), "today is a great day! We’re going to destroy what doesn’t work, test more things, tweak others, build newer metrics and keep at it."

In short…

You are no longer managing a budget and an agency relationship. You are an architect.  You are planning, building and working on a building, but it never end. There is no penthouse… there is no top floor. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not for the weak. It’s not for the lazy. Is it easy to tweak and add components to your overall marketing mix based on trends and what the analysts are telling you? Yes. Is it easy to say that such and such doesn’t work or that’s there’s no marketing ROI in it when it falls by the wayside? Yes. Is it hard to really do the work and to look into the mirror and admit that the majority of what you’re currently doing is lazy? Yes.

It’s time to stop asking others to convince us about the new opportunities (because they’re not all that new anymore), and it’s time to start doing the hard work or getting things right.


  1. You said it 100% Mitch. The reality is Digital Marketing/Social Media is not for the Lazy. It’s not about hiring an agency and closing the door, or being the first to try something new. This doesn’t just apply to marketers, it applies to all those who are involved in digital marketing. It’s about being able to represent exactly what you are doing using tools that allow you to enhance experiences for your clients, or your audience. The problem with many marketers or agencies is the same that holds true for *anyone* in any industry – often when you get too used to doing something, or you feel at ease in what you are doing, without even realizing it people become over confident, or even apathetic. We all owe our clients more than that, regardless of the role we play – we owe them passion and drive. Consistently. Thank you Mitch for your refreshing post. New year, new heights to be reached! You don’t get that through technology and trends, you get it through hard work, building foundations, motivation and true dedication to always be outstanding ~

  2. All that measurement we’re doing—who are we reporting it to, and for what reason? When we approach social measurement as justification or proof of ROI to someone else (boss, client, etc.), we tend to overlook its value to what we’re doing right now. Measurement as proof/justification is less powerful than measurement as performance fuel. Most marketers are consumed with the former, and need to get a bead on the latter.

  3. Great stuff, really. I do not think that “Lazy” is a poor choice of words at all, “Lazy” has a best friend called “Fear” and the two of them work together beautifully. The root of the condition is as you suggest, that digital and social are points of integration rather than a platform from which the channels extend. Some of that may start to work once the people charged with defining strategy and the ones defining creative start to find and engage each other without constraint or pre-existing notions of boundaries. Great article

  4. I think a lot has to do with passion and direction. Too many people want the easy way and will get by with doing the least work possible, however when passion is in the mix it becomes a driving force to make what you do exciting and better. Lazy is not a word for the passionate person.
    Great post, I think it highlights the difference between success and failure, which is generally due to inaction or lazyness.

  5. Bravo… lately, I’m seeing a lot of love for tools, automation, shortcuts among other things. The discipline and approach never changes though new technologies do become available to us. Really, what I am seeing these days is not unlike the obesity epidemic in the US. We eat a lot of fast foods and rely too much on cars as opposed to doing the work of eating clean and perhaps hopping on a treadmill. The over reliance on tools without engaging in the hard work will just make all of us a bunch of marketing blobs.

  6. Hey Mitch… right on. We are the information architects and process managers.
    I got a bit of flack from the establishment for two blog posts I wrote earlier this year. I’ve republished them on my new site, live, yet launching soon… (links at the end of this comment.)
    Having worked in both government, ad/marketing agencies — the goal in each is to leverage a team of unique skills to BUILD new processes, new assets… seems many agencies are just floating along gathering accolades for simply being on Facebook. Hope you enjoy the articles below…
    UNFOCUSED AGENCY STRATEGIES VS. ACTUALLY HELPING BUSINESS!/2011/08/unfocused-agency-strategies-vs-actually-helping-business/

  7. Hi Mitch,
    A co-worker of mine used to say that the agency business is like a hamster wheel. You just keep running hard with all of your might and you never wind up ahead. Sometimes you might fall off.
    He said this to me when I was still pretty new to the business and still pretty young as workers go. I was coming out of a grad school environment where there was a big meltdown and freedom after the last final was taken. I figured all of life was like that.
    In fact, the agency’s work is never ever done. There’s no such thing as being “ahead enough.” There is no such thing as being “good enough.”
    The agencies that don’t get that are the ones who give other agencies a bad name.
    Fantastic post!

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