Go Slow: Digital Marketing On Island Time

| 2 min read

I went on a trip to Belize recently, it was fantastic and I did a lot  of really cool things. One of the places I visited was Caye Caulker, a  small island not far from Belize City.

Here is a photo from my hotel room to give you an idea of the island:

As  you can see it's basically a tropical paradise. When you get there one  of the first things you'll notice is signs everywhere that say "Go  Slow". This is because the island works on "Island Time."

Anyone  who has travelled somewhere tropical knows the concept: time in general  seems to slow down on the island and no one is in a hurry to get  anywhere or do anything. Yet somehow things just work. You sit down for  breakfast and it might take 3 hours to finish the whole meal and that is  totally fine. It's wonderful.

Heck, I had a desperate bathroom  need at one point and was hurrying to my hotel since it wasn't too far  and I had not one, but three locals comment that I was going too fast.

Back to the point: I think we need to take this concept to the digital marketing world.

Speed is a problem

I  see it over and over again: digital marketers spend most of their time  trying to find the newest growth hack to get themselves more traffic or  referrals. Those hacks very quickly stop working and almost all the time  that went into them (researching them, implementing them, measuring  them) turns out to be wasted.

I've talked about this until I'm blue in the face so I don't want to bore you with the details, check out my podcast and other articles below where I go into more detail. The main thing is: digital marketing needs to be sustainable.

Sustainable is not fast.

The above is NOT sustainable. Instead, do this:

  • Sustainable is taking your time to actually listen to what your customers are saying.
  • Sustainable is taking your time to solve their problems in ways that benefit them.

Take  a step back and really look at what that growth hack idea of yours  solves. I bet if you really think about it the answer is "it gets more  people to know about our brand" or "it gets us more traffic."

Those  goals are only useful to a point. Remember the trade-off: is this hack  possibly going to hurt your brand? A lot of the email hacks out there  certainly do (and are also illegal here in Canada as well as Europe.)

And  jumping onto news stories? I guess it has worked once or twice to get a  surge of sales or impressions but it certainly doesn't last. It is just  another form of clickbait.

Same with social media networks and  the like: joining yet another one just spreads you thinner. The more  social media you are on, the less resources you have for each and the  worse you do at each.

Let's do marketing on island time

Focus  your time on listening and data (which are very similar) and then  answer questions and build a brand - the fundamentals you learned when  you first studied marketing. All forms of digital marketing allow for  these and the work you put into them will reward you for years to come.

You  don't need to jump onto the newest social media platform or keep up on  all the newest news so you can post some clever quip and gain traffic.  If you have a strong brand and people trust you, you will be able to  take your time and do your marketing right.

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