Big Changes always come in very little steps

The move from old to new marketing is a sum of tiny little shifts that ultimately transforms a new set of thinking, behaviors and processes.

Can we learn from nature while going through the change?

Nature, which we’re a part of,  comes with powerful mechanisms to support the constant balance and evolution of so many interconnected (and de facto interdependent) pieces in this grand and dynamic puzzle we call our world (think food chain, evolution of species, social and cultural rituals to name a few).

One critical one is the power to adapt. It’s done by taking many little steps in a new direction in order to produce a big change overtime. The first step toward change is typically very hard because it requires to step outside a comfort zone, to go against an establish order, to fight forces that hold things the way they are. It’s also a very small step, almost unnoticeable.

What we know, how we feel and what we do is constantly updated in little chunks to adapt to the changing environment around us:

  • Our knowledge is the produce of large quantity of small bits of information absorbed on a daily basis and organized to maximize relevance. Facts and counter-facts, opinion and counter-opinions are the food in the world of thinking. Changing what we know starts long before we starting thinking differently, with a tiny bit of information that goes against what we know and carries the seed of an invisible disruption.
  • Our happiness or unhappiness is the produce of little daily dose of feelings. Joy and pain are our food in the world of feeling. Changing how we feel starts long before we start feeling differently.
  • Our physical abilities is the produce of daily training. Top athletes spend countless hours training before they reach their peak.

What does it have to do with Social Media marketing?

For sure, social media looks very much like a natural phenomenon.
On the surface, it’s chaotic, turbulent, dynamic.
But there’s structure underneath. The principle of relevance, authority and relationships drives social media to be self- organized in many small networks of like minded people who exchange a DNA called conversations.

Well, I often have marketers asking how do I change and adapt to the new world that comes with social media. I’d love to be able to give them the ‘magic formula’ answer but truth is Social Media marketing  is very ‘natural’ at its core.
To adapt, marketers and their organization need to take little steps every day toward a new way:

  1. We need to think in term of ‘them’ vs ‘me’, after all social media serves human welfare before individual ones. The only piece of advice I give them is focus on relevance, relationships, add value and do it in a way that mimics the golden rule
  2. We need to embrace pervasive listening, engagement and relationship building with the ‘who matters’ for us
  3. We need to make the process and the tool social

Of course to go through the journey requires a lot patience, persistence and passion (for the opportunity that opens with the change). Nature does show patience, persistence and passion when she does the same little iterations over millions of years to give birth to new forms of life and does it in a beautiful way.

As Seth said so well, those are the things that you can now avoid:

* The annual review
* The annual sales conference
* The big product launch
* The grand opening of a new branch
* Drop dead one-shot negotiation events

The reasons? Well, they don’t work (they’re not ‘natural’). They don’t work because big events leave little room for iteration, for trial and error, for earning rapport. And the biggest reason: Frequent cheap communication is easier than ever, and if you use it, you’ll discover that the process creates far more gains than events ever can.

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