How to Say No to Shiny Objects in Marketing

In high school I was really good in English but my math grades were subpar. I never failed any classes, but averaged about a 60% in any math-related class. My parents did the obvious thing and hired a math tutor to help me get my grades up. It worked, and I ended high school with an 81% in calculous.

Stories like mine are common. Child excels in one subject but not another. The subject that the child excels in is ignored, while the child is forced to concentrate on getting better at everything else, so it’s all brought up to a nice even level. This mentality doesn’t make sense to me.

In the real world we’re celebrated when we excel in one subject. Being OK, or adequate, or even just pretty good at a bunch of different things doesn’t get us very far. You need to figure out aspects of online training and marketing channels you are great at and go all-in. Dipping your toe in the water many different ways won’t do much.

Yet, many of us suffer from “shiny object disorder.” We are constantly distracted by the next new thing. We think we need to be present on every social media network, offer every service to every client, and create via audio, video, and written content. Of course, doing all of this all at once — let alone doing it well — is impossible. Therefore, I suggest that you eliminate ruthlessly.

To do this, I have a 3-step process that will help you keep your focus on the few tasks you do very well.

  1. Make a list of everything that you think you should do to market your services. This could include daily Facebook posts, curating a community, appearing at in-person events, writing articles, producing video content, etc.
  2. Eliminate everything from your first list except the top 20 marketing ideas.
  3. From your list of 20 ideas, pull out the top 5 that energize you and that you are naturally gifted at doing or love to do.
  4. Make a second list of the 15 remaining ideas and keep that with you. This is a list of things you should never do.

Your list of 15 items that are attractive to you but not in your top 5 are the dangerous ones. These are the nagging ideas that will keep coming back; they’re shiny objects that are just likely to cost you time and mental energy, with little-to-no benefit … like starting a podcast.

Remember this: the top producers in all industries in the world are great at saying yes to things that are important because they’ve spent time figuring out what to say no to.

-Coach Jon