Don't be afraid of the Guillotine

Everyone knows the person I am going to be talking about; that colleague, or client with a passionate desire to survive. They don't want to jeopardize their job so they view every day and every interaction not as an opportunity but as a threat -- a threat not to the company but to her own well-being. As Seth Godin says in his post Guillotine or Rack? that I will quote and use throughout this post, "If she had a mantra, it was "Don't blow it."

In business, these people face two choices: to die by the guillotine, a horrible but quick death, or to perish slowly on the rack -- which is just as painful a way to go, if not more so, and guaranteed to leave you every bit as dead. But in their nightmares, only one of those two options loomed large -- the guillotine.

I have to admit it. I have the same dream.

Have you ever spent a night worrying about what your boss (or your stockbroker or a big customer) is going to say to you at that meeting the next morning? Have you ever worried about some impending moment of doom? That's fear of the guillotine.

But almost no one worries about the rack. We don't quake in our boots about a layoff that's going to happen two years from now if we don't migrate our systems before our competition does. We're not afraid of stagnating and dying slowly. No, we're more afraid of sudden death, even though the guillotine is probably a far better way to die.

Too often in the digital world especially the guillotine rules. Why? Because believe it or not in a lot of companies Senior Management still does not understand or believe in the purpose and power, too often in advertising the strategy is final, the commercial shot and now 30 days before the in-market date they realize they DO NEED the digital strategy you tried to speak to them about 45 days ago. So what happens? Sites get built with 1/2 the time they need and then obviously user experience is sacrificed, functionality reduced, and the digital efforts become nothing more than a one-off tactic supporting a campaign.

The realities of todays world is that in most cases the first place consumers look for information is online. If your advertising works and they see a spot, or hear about your product or service through word-of-mouth they look online to discover more. This experience is paramount. It must be aligned with the brand, connect to the campaign and answers the questions the consumers have.

But due to the lingering Guillotine, in a lot of cases marketers aren't putting the thought or strategy they should behind the majority of their digital efforts.

What is the implications 3 years down the road if a project goes to market 3 weeks late? Probably only positive implications. If you launch early and a horrible user-experience is provided, if you aren't satisfying the needs and desires of your visitors,and if the brand isn't properly represented then 3 years later you may still have consumers with a bad taste in their mouth, they may still be talking about the horrible experience they had with your brand and they probably aren't purchasing.

If the 3 weeks can eliminate these issues do it. The guillotine can be stopped by showing that you are delivering a strategically sound, brand aligned and high-quality product. And your solid efforts that will be paying off exponentially down the road will be recognised celebrated and will keep you from dying on the rack.

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