From time to time, I’ll come across a person that will ask me - “what exactly is an e-Marketing Zen Master”? To which point I will usually go into some colloquy about different avenues of digital and Internet marketing and do my best to adjust the conversation based on the level of engagement and experience of my audience.
Really, though “Zen Master” might be a stretch but after many years, working with shoe-string budgets on large scale projects, one really learns to take a little and turn it into a whole lot.
Getting disparate systems to communicate and drive productivity, achieving a harmonious, Zen-like place, where all systems function in unison to achieve a common goal, where all results are quantifiable, ROI is justifiable, all are happy, and everyone is making money, might even sound like e-Marketing Nirvana.
To illuminate what an e-Marketing Zen Master is, we need to borrow a concept from the _1“Art of Happiness”, written by His Holiness, the Dali Lama, and the basic principles to “Understand yourself, create a mental clearing and make changes”. Why not take these basic principles and apply them, to other facets of life including but not limited to e-Marketing and all its constituents. After all, in an e-Marketing cosmos that encompasses social, economical, technological and demographical components a little Zen could go a long way.
The article premise here is to function as a starting point, three general principles serving as a foundation to use when initiating and evolving any e-Marketing endeavor. A basic holistic approach that hopefully will help you carry through from start to finish. In no way, does this article intend to over generalize e-Marketing and all that it encompasses, nor for that matter will it guarantee your personal self-fulfillment or enlightenment but if it helps in any way, or even puts a smile on your face – then mission accomplished.
So let’s begin.
It never ceases to amaze me when meeting with an organization to evaluate, create and or implement an e-Marketing or Business Intelligence strategy the lack of existing and established clear cut goals, victories and milestones all of which should be principle keys to the measure of success of any business plan and initiative.
It would be akin to starting a diet and exercise program and not knowing, why you can’t have that extra slice of pizza or why you are on the treadmill at 5:00am. You just know that you’ve heard somewhere that sound diet and exercise is good for you, so figured you’d give it a shot – after four days, you’ve gained two pounds and your knees and back hurt and on the fifth day you’ve gone back to old habits – not a very successful diet and exercise plan.
With that said, truly understand yourself in alignment with your organizations business goals, victories and milestones on projects. Clearly identify them and adhere to them as testament. Set realistic, operative word here is realistic, short and long-term goals. Going back to the previous illustration – you don’t go from walking a mile to running a marathon in seven days, no matter what you heard on a TV infomercial. Well, it’s the same with e-Marketing, you don’t typically go from a zero, limited or handicapped e-Marketing and Business Intelligence presence to analyzing yottabytes of knowledge and behavioral information overnight. Realistic goals, victories and milestones are paramount in project collaboration, adherence to deadlines and bottleneck assessment. In addition they act as a proving ground for a projects success and may very well set the path and tone for future accomplishments and initiatives.
Create a mental clearing.
Ok, so moving forward with the diet and exercise theme. Lets say your trying to start an exercise program and you’ve decided that your going to walk/run three miles in the morning and try to run a 5k in six months. After speaking to a few people, your not sure if you should, walk, run, swim, float, hike or bike – heck you might not even want to be bothered anymore. After all pain + 5am = not very fun for some.
Bottom line is we all have opinions and not all of them are good or productive.
There is only one thing to do, stick with the goal, the testament from step one understand yourself, clear your mind of clutter and move forward with the plan. Search for the right resources to support your goals, call on an outside expert when necessary and don’t be afraid to step away from the limelight and learn to become a good listener.
Obstacles come in all shapes and sizes, but the chance of a project’s success increases proportionally when not only your mind, but your teams mind is clear of clutter. A negative environment and negative people will have a detrimental effect on long and short term project goals – negativity will increase confusion, decrease productivity, increase stress and adversely impact the teams ability to think creatively and clearly. As a result this will increase overhead, increase timelines, encourage missed deadlines – in addition to lost opportunity and lost revenue.
In order to create and maintain a mental clearing for your team, employ sound management skills, develop team activities, hold regular open dialog, and employ sound reward and recognition building coupled with companionate goal sharing.
Congratulations you’ve done it. You’ve stood your ground, five to six days a week 5am, for six months. The 5k was last week, and all the grueling work has paid off. So you say to yourself, “I wonder what it would be like to run a marathon, Kathy in accounting did it, how hard could it be after all I’ve just ran a 5k.”
So you decide to stick with your program 5am, five to six days a week and to your surprise you can’t run past 5k. Why? The answer is simple, change. You cannot expect to run a marathon, when you’ve only been training to run a 5k. Same with e-Marketing and Business Intelligence, if you don’t benchmark the plan, if you’re not results driven, if your systems are not robust and scalable, if they are stale and have plateaued, and you have not made an honest effort to adapt and evolve, as in the illustration don’t expect them be able run a “marathon” for you.
Change is one of the most difficult concepts, for some people to grasp. I often see organizations adhere to the simple philosophy that what once worked in the past will work again in the future. Let’s be clear, change in e-Marketing and Business Intelligence technology is inevitable and a way of business. The ability of an organization to adapt and explore open-minded opportunity may very well be tomorrows defining factor. Most people know what their good at, but a truly intelligent person is smart enough to know what their not good at, and when to ask for help. Explore your organizations competencies, know what you excel at, what you are ok at and what areas need a little help, match talent to task and change forward.
Understand yourself and your organizations needs, create a mental clearing for your team and yourself and lastly don’t be afraid to change and evolve your e-Marketing and Business Intelligence strategy. Keep organizational goals and initiatives realistic. Don’t expect your organization, your team, or your existing e-Marketing initiatives and infrastructure to run a marathon for you, if right now they can only walk a mile, but don’t place limits either – employ the necessary resources to move forward and achieve goals, call on an outside expert when necessary. Take what your organization is good at, foster it and use it as a benchmark and grow, be open minded, establish clear cut long and short term goals, develop and foster the right team for the job, and keep mindset of reaching goals clear of clutter, change and adapt as need arises.
Who knows, becoming an e-Marketing Zen Master might not be as far out of reach as you thought, everything starts with a first step including e-Marketing Nirvana.
_1 The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition, A Handbook for Living,Dalai Lama (2009).