Gini Dietrich

Executives and the Ostrich Syndrome

By: Gini Dietrich | May 10, 2011 | 
100

This first ran on DIY Blogger, Dino Dogan’s blog, during his Fear of Marketing week. If you don’t know Dino, DIY Blogger, or what he and Dan Cristo are doing with Triberr, I suggest you check it all out! And, if you read this over there, just move to the comments. We all know that’s where the real action is anyway.

I spend a good amount of my speaking time with Vistage groups across the country.

Vistage, if you don’t know, is a CEO membership organization. Which means, in order to join, you have to be an entrepreneur or professional manager. Every month you sit around the table with 15 of your peers to discuss issues and challenges you can’t discuss at work.

One of the things they recognize in their members is they do not, in fact, know everything. So they bring speakers in every month on different topics: Leadership, communication, financials, HR, unions, law, etc.

My topic is doing business on the web through marketing, communication, advertising, HR, sales, and customer service.

The Ostrich Syndrome

One would think, by now, people would understand that doing business on the web is inevitable. Three years ago, everyone told me it was a fad. Now they begrudgingly say they get it, but they still don’t want to be there.

I always begin these presentations with

Let’s put all our baggage out there. Why aren’t you using the web for business growth?

They all think they’re so smart and no one else has their baggage. But I hear the following things in every, single speech I give:

  • I don’t want people to say negative things about me or the company
  • If my employees are using social media, they won’t get their jobs done
  • This is for the kids and they aren’t in my business yet
  • My customer isn’t online (seriously, I STILL hear this)
  • I have no control over what is said online
  • It just takes too much time and I don’t understand the ROI
  • Is there an ROI? It seems like just a bunch of what you’re having for lunch
  • You can’t build relationships online

You know what all of this is?

Fear.

Fear of change. Fear of loss of control. Fear of marketing.

It’s sad, really.

The fact of the matter is that if people are going to say something negative about you online, they’re doing it offline, too.

If your employees aren’t getting their jobs done, it’s an operational issue, not a social media challenge.

This isn’t just for kids; the fastest growing demographic online is older than 50.

Your customers ARE using the web. They may not be looking for you, but what a great opportunity that provides!

Get Over It

The past two and a half years have been rough. Everyone cut their marketing budgets. And now they’re scrambling because business is still down. What do you expect? You stop communicating, people forget about you.

But not only that, the game has changed. No longer can you throw stuff out there and see which 50 percent sticks. People want to be talked with, not talked at. They expect it.

And for those of you who are afraid people are going to say negative things about you or that you can’t control the conversation, you’re going to be left behind.

Which company would you rather be? The one that sticks its proverbial head in the sand and waits to see how all this digital stuff shakes out? Or the one that takes the bull by the horns, experiments with one or two technologies, deals with the negative conversations, and leaves its competition in the dust?

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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