bear_chaseRemember the story about the two guys in the forest who come face-to-face with a bear?  They take off running and the one guy says “Hey this is crazy, we can’t outrun a bear!”  The other guy says, “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun YOU!”

Good advice, especially when it’s getting harder and harder to stay on the leading edge (outrun the bear).  My message: you don’t have to stay on the leading edge, you simply have to stay ahead of, or change faster than, your competitors.

Think about it (and I do, a lot!).  Not too long ago the issues on your marketing agenda included collateral materials, advertising, direct mail campaigns and trade shows.  Then came the internet and now we’re grappling with social media.  It can get overwhelming, fast.

But everytime I start feeling that overwhelm I remind myself we don’t have to be masters of it all, we simply have be changing faster than our competitors.  A couple examples:

A marketing automation company, Infusionsoft, approached me to buy a domain name I own,  I checked around the boards to find out if they are good citizens and might make a good home for the URL.  I found a thread about some issues a few people noticed about an email tool the company provides; probably 15-20 posts.  The thread included a post (a very thoughtful one at that) by a community evangelist from the company and a post from an independent software consultant who works with the company’s customers.  Very impressive.  Are they everywhere?  No.  But it appears their digital footprint is well-placed, and good for them.

I was cruising around LinkedIn and bumped into a consultant I know, Kathy Jacobs.   She’s a VSP (very smart person) and I saw she was participating heavily in the Question & Answer area in LinkedIn.  She can’t be everywhere, but she does appear to have a highly visible presence on LinkedIn and it appears to work well for her.  Good for Kathy.

What one or two or three corners of the digital world can you stake out and stand out in?   Then widen your footprint, then widen it again, staying ahead of your competitors.

Starting from scratch?  Start with LinkedIn.  Advice:

The unofficial source for all things LinkedIn

Me on LinkedIn

Also get started on Twitter.  Advice:

A good place to start, lots of links.

Me on Twitter