“You don’t have time for strategy?”
On page 32 of Killing Marketing, Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose share an anecdote that probably resonates with many marketers. In an interview for a digital marketing position, an applicant explains how he would spend the first few weeks on the job:
“He proceeded to outline how he might work with the team to develop a new content strategy to apply to marketing, content marketing and social media. The team cut him off and said, “What if we don’t have time for that?” He asked, “You don’t have time for strategy?” The team said, “No we need to deliver ROI. We don’t have time for analysis. We just need you to come in and start getting results with social posts and email. How would you do that?”
He didn’t get the job.”
Perhaps it was a blessing this gentleman didn’t get that job; his would-be colleagues are idiots. I’ve encountered this stupidity many times before; I’m sure you’ve encountered it, too.
In essence, the objection to strategy is this: “We don’t have time to establish an intelligent path forward that logically connects the resources we have to the objectives we want. Instead, despite clear evidence that exposes the failure of our current marketing model, we’ll keep pursuing it. Because, you know, we don’t ‘have the time’ to do anything else.”
After almost every speaking engagement, marketers will approach me with the same or similar dilemma. They “get” what I’ve just been talking about, but they’re alone in their organizations. How can they get the others to get it?
I’ll offer some concrete advice: tie content strategy to objectives that have already been established; talk up the value of leveraging expertise that currently remains under-used and under-appreciated; show them successful case studies that others…
They cut me off, shaking their heads. No. Their people just don’t get it. “There’s no time for strategy.”
At this point, I lower my voice (just in case their employers have sent spies or magic recording drones). “Maybe it’s time to look for another job,” I say sadly. “Maybe?”
Some are shocked. Some nod their heads. Some will even say, “maybe.”
We don’t get many signs from the Supreme Being or the universe or what-have-you. But I will argue that if your colleagues, especially those you report to, insist there’s no time for strategy, then it is time for you to reconsider your prospects.
Maybe it’s time for you to move on to something or somewhere else. Where there is time for strategy.