On Sunday, I watched Curb Your Enthusiasm like it was Saturday (till late). On Monday, more of the same. On Tuesday, I have foisting stuck in my head.
Here’s why. There’s a Curb’ episode where Jimmy Kimmel has foisted his hapless assistant onto the show’s anti-protagonist, Larry David. Larry realizes this post-foist. Larry then re-foists the assistant onto his arch-nemesis on the show, Susie, who is also his best friend’s wife.
The American Heritage Dictionary has a good definition of foist: “To impose (something or someone unwanted) upon another by coercion or trickery.”
“Trickery” being the operative word. That’s why you often don’t realize you’ve been foisted until it’s too late. And you’re 2 months and $30k into a complex CRM migration.
Do you know what else gets foisted?
Marketing and business gurus foist complexity by insisting, for example, that:
1. You need an “omnichannel” marketing strategy. Nope. We used to do omnichannel marketing on 7-figure advertising and marketing budgets when I was at Blackbaud. The idea is that you synchronize marketing and advertising communications to the same person over a long period of time. Ad there, email here, print mailer over there – all coordinated.
It’s never really worked. Frankly, I think it’s BS even for most large brands. With the exception of warm advertising (retargeted display ads) to visitors of your very important web pages, it’s probably not for you. Create your content, run your ads, build your funnels – and If the same person sees the same message, content, idea twice, so what?
2. There’s a single “specialization decision”. No. There’s no one-time specialization decision that you need to make. As you ride through life you should make multiple positioning decisions. It’s a constant process and a state of mind, so don’t get stressed out if you don’t land on a specific one – just do something that works. And once you do make one – congratulations, now start imagining the next one. Our world is changing too fast to set it and forget it.
3. Long, detailed strategic marketing plans are cool. Bwoah, Nein. Look, you can create and assign all the marketing tasks you want in your project management tool. That’s fine and may be necessary. But the strategic marketing plan, where your entire strategy is expressed, doesn’t need to be longer than one page. There’s at least one book about this. There’s also a “canvas” about this. I have created my own “1-page Strategic Marketing Plan” canvas based on what niche B2B expertise firms need to prioritize.
(Other things that can be just one-page: proposals for services projects, book outlines, case studies, and resumes).
4. You need a CRM. Nah. You might want a CRM. You might like using a CRM. But that’s probably because of your personality-type, not your business need. Like taking on a new employee, don’t get involved with a CRM until you have to. Notion and Airtable have plenty of lightweight CRMs for you to use in the meantime.
5. You have to learn value-pricing. (Or as Alan Weiss put it in his book, Value-based Fees). Not really, no. This means you charge based on a percentage of the total value of the project to your client. You’ll want to learn this if you want to get rich as a consultant, yes. But you can do just fine by focusing on fixed-fee pricing, as discussed in the prior episode. As long as you learn and practice a bunch of other things about pricing. Value pricing an interesting way to view the world and a valuable skill once you have 10-20 years of experience and expertise. But you don’t have to learn it, especially when you are starting out.
Bonus. You must “find your passion”. Not so sure about this. I think what matters more is the daily work of finding your flow – more on this tomorrow. (If you have any ideas on this in the meantime, hit reply and let me know!)
In sum: keep it simple, keep it short, and don’t get foisted (: