Online marketers tend to be control freaks who live in the highly mistaken assumption that they have the ultimate say over what their message does and who it reaches. They pore over analytics while engaging in chart pattern extrapolations that put the aficionados of stock trend line forecasting to shame. The online marketers who manage to delude themselves that they can base their auguring on specific predetermined aspects of past performance are on a fast track to irrelevance. One of the most basic tenets of marketing is that the X factors are incalculable and resist any attempts at vaticination.
GoDaddy’s Outage Was a Godsend to Marketers Hosted Elsewhere
One of the most vivid examples of this failure of attempted soothsaying is the recent outage by GoDaddy. When a company that hosts an inordinate number of the world’s major websites blinks out, even only temporarily, the universe of online marketing is set on its head. It is obvious that the businesses that relied on GoDaddy’s services during that time period watched their traffic plummet precipitously to zero, but it may not be as obvious to note that their non-GoDaddy competitors had a field day. It follows that if Online Customer X is looking for Product Y from Company Z and that particular site becomes unreachable, they’re going to take their business to the company that has actually managed to maintain a fully functioning site.
The Varied Occurrences that Impact Marketers
It’s not sufficient to just live in the expectation of a profit bonanza when a considerable chunk of the web goes down, as there are various other (and more frequent) occurrences that impact an online marketer’s best planned strategies:
- What your competitors do – Even though you might think that you are a consummate marketing genius who can presage your competitor’s next move well before they implement it, nothing could be further from the truth. Your competition is wholly unpredictable and likely has a very different view of the market you think you have mastered. That disparate perspective can lead to marketing initiatives that can make your brand seem flatfooted and irrelevant literally overnight.
- What technology does – There will certainly be a time in the not too distant future when we will all look back on Facebook in the same way we now think about the AOL floppy disks that once littered our postal mail boxes. A 2400 baud modem was once the state of the art; HyperCard was a great way to build a database; and Compuserve Navigator awed us all by its ability to actually go online and automatically download all our messages allowing us to reply to them offline (and away from the $12/hour online charge). All of these are now nothing more than nostalgic motes lost in the mists of the past.
- What your government does – If you think that the government’s only impact on your business is the onerous taxation you’re struggling under… think again. Any government initiative can have a deleterious result for a business, whether it is something as simple and local as a road repaving project that renders some brick & mortar stores effectively inaccessible for a number of days, all the way to a national health care plan that turns the entire business model of a country’s medical system upside down.
- What the economy does – Imagine that you were a monoline insurance company brand in 2007. Times were good and the P&L sheets were fat. Now fast forward just two mere years to when there wasn’t a single major monoline insurance company left in the United States of America. When the economy tanks it can take entire segments of commerce down with it right to the point of extinction.
In order to keep your online marketing efforts relevant and effective you need to abandon staid, fixed campaign strategies and be flexible, nimble and open to change.