Paralysis of Choice - Social Media Explorer
Paralysis of Choice
Paralysis of Choice

It’s overwhelming isn’t it? All of the choices, developments, options, approaches, strategies, opportunities, challenges. Marketing today is really a lot to process. There are new tools, channels, strategies, platforms (and so on!) being released every week. It gets so overwhelming and almost scary, that it reminds me of standing in front of the cereal aisle in the grocery store. The number of choices available to me is almost paralyzing. When we are faced with more choices than we can process, it is so easy to seize up into a mental paralysis.

In moments of mental paralysis, it is so easy to do nothing. Because it just seems too big. But, let me be the one to remind you:

ParalysisDoing nothing is not a solution.

But, how can you do something when nothing seems way easier? I mean we are all already so bleeping busy that our heads spin and we cannot fit our actual current work within the day. But really, these are excuses. We are falling into an innovation trap and also being paid by the “no” when we get into these mental places. So, to overcome the mental paralysis of the marketing choices that fly at our faces every week, the answer, to me, is threefold.

1. Get laser focused on the right goal

When we get overwhelmed with choices, we can easily take our eye off the ball and set the wrong goal in front of us. Marketing is about growing awareness, engagement and at the end of the day, sales. We need to be able to contribute to the growth of the company. Our roles are designed to increase sales, to activate shoppers into customers, to create repeat customers. When selecting a new tactic or channel, you need to figure out how to relate the idea to the goal and then get laser focused on that goal of helping the company grow revenue.

2. Start small, but scalable

Once you have your goal dialed in, it’s time to think about your customers and potential customers. Think about where to start with two simple questions: Where are our customers hanging out and when would they be open to our message. This is the missing piece to so much social media marketing. The assumption is that: My customer is on Facebook. They probably are. Most people are. It is as mass as it gets these days…They problem is, people are not always receptive to a marketing message on a platform like Facebook. For example, if you are a b2b marketer, your audience is on Facebook, however, they might not be in professional mode on Facebook. So, be sure that you are asking both ends of that question to determine where you should test. And when you are ready to test, make sure you are doing it in a way that scales. When you start small, document the actions and results so that when you are able to expand the footprint, you are doing it in a scaled way based on earlier trial and error.

3. Find their “one thing”

Convince and convert needs to align with what the audience cares about that you can deliver against. So, what can your brand do to deliver value to the people who may need or want your product? This is the single most important question (to me) you can ask when you are considering social and content marketing. You should be almost consumed with identifying the “one thing” that your customers and prospective customers care about as it relates to your brand. And when you find that “one thing” you need to test it out on them. Make sure it is something they care about through small, controlled tests. And keep measuring the tests until you find the “one thing”. You’ll know when you’ve hit it because you will see spikes in the results based on the goals you set forth. Ask yourself, do you know what your customers’ and potential customers’ “one thing” is? If you do, share it in the comments. It could help inspire others.

It is so easy to get paralyzed by the volume of choice we face, but failing to act is not a solution. And, I do not see things letting up anytime soon in terms of new tools, technologies and tactics. So, find a place to start moving forward with small, scalable tests that are focused on achieving your company’s goals while you deliver value to the audience.

About the Author

Tracey Parsons
Since 1995, Tracey has been developing digital solutions. Currently SME Digital’s lead strategist, she continues to be dedicated to bringing cutting edge, thoughtful and measurable solutions to marketers. With more than 15 years in digital, Tracey not only brings vision, but the tools and strategies to execute against complex next generation concepts. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands to develop and devise cutting-edge social, mobile and digital marketing practices.
  • Maya Weinhart

    Tracey – I really like your statement about identifying the goal. A lot of times marketing campaigns fail because the ultimate goal isn’t either identified or very clearly defined. Once you’ve got the clear goal defined it’s a lot easier to work your way backwards to the steps to achieve that goal. Thanks for the interesting read!

    • Tracey Parsons

      Glad you liked it Maya. I would also add to question to goal. I have had a number of clients who’ve asked to get to s certain number of Likes on Facebook and I always ask “Why is that the goal?” so that we can get to what you hope to achieve with the goal.

  • Gil Steidle


    • Tracey Parsons

      Gil – you are singing my song. “Best” choice is a moving target. Just make a choice and figure out what’s better later. Great comment!

  • Hi Tracey,

    It happens with everyone, and you have provided with all the things to consider while facing such situations. Though, you have centered around the digital marketing topic, it can be applied in various situations in day-to-day life.

    Paralysis, well in some way it is. We get so many choices that it becomes tough to choose one thing. The positive thing is they are competing against each other, so they end up giving users better options, but yes many options.

    Surely, it will be a head-ache to analyze all the options and go for one suitable option.

    Being laser focused, nice analogy. Being a marketer, there is a huge responsibility to deliver the right products and staying our eyes on the impact of our choices. After all, it will be of no use to go for a campaign that will be less productive.

    I loved the second tip, to start small and be measurable. Having a set goal will long way when mixed with the right understanding about the audience. Just assuming on a mass scale will be a blunder.

    Also, it is the need to know the audience needs to deliver the best products and the services. The solution is basically very simple, but one needs a proper step by step approach to nail this every time.

    Beautiful post to help those in dilemma. Loved it. I found the link to this post on Kingged.

    • Tracey Parsons

      Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it. You are right, it is a far broader topic than just marketing. I use these tactics with my son and in my personal life as well. Just make a decision and see what happens.


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