Do you really want progress?

Progress is supposed to be a good thing, but have you noticed that people have a built-in resistance to any opportunity that requires change? I just saw a story about a TV network that gave a homeless man $100,000 and within a year he was penniless again. They intentionally chose someone who wasn't insane or addicted to drugs and alcohol, and for a while he did get an apartment, buy a truck, and live almost like a normal person. I say "almost normal" because he refused three job offers and found it more comfortable to sleep on the floor than his bed. There are a lot of aspects to this sad story, but it struck me that resistance to change is built into people's very DNA, even when the opportunity is overwhelming positive. Could it be, then, that the ability to recognize progress and embrace change is the hallmark of successful companies and people?

David Meerman Scott suggests a great place to make progress in this post, arguing that companies need to eliminate their policies against blogging. Why resist this new and powerful form of communication? Easy -- the people running companies grew up in the same era I did, when only PR people and a few "media-trained" experts were permitted to talk about the products. There was one message and the job was to coax the press into delivering it. Then came the Internet, and with it the opportunity for customers to search for companies that speak their own language. I can only guess that it's the natural resistance to change that causes so many to insist on archaic communication polices.

Consider this. Most companies have several different types of customers (buyer personas) that influence decisions to buy their solutions, and it probably isn't reasonable to expect any single marketer to know each of them really well. So why not match each persona with a marketer who is curious, open-minded, and a good writer? Encourage these new persona experts to listen into online conversations among customers, prospects, and thought leaders. If you've got the right match, several of your marketers will become darn good bloggers. When potential customers go looking for someone who speaks their language, they'll find you.

Not enough time to blog, you say? Pshaw. What could be more important than listening to the market and influencing how they think? Are you sure it isn't resistance to progress that's slowing you down?

Topics: B2B, Positioning & Messaging, Public Relations, Writing


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