The latest craze in the city is the movie, Tenet. People everywhere are comparing notes on how much they understand. They spare no effort dissecting the various mind-boggling scenes. Of course, spoilers abound.
One of the classic scenes in the movie is when the protagonist, Neil, meets with a female scientist. He opens his hand and lets a bullet with inverse entropy return to it. In practice, if you master this ‘time inversion’ tactic, you will realize that it is extremely applicable in marketing. When it comes to marketing, the element of time plays a crucial role.
Begin with the end before getting into the implementation details.
I’m sure that most of us would have solved mazes of some sort before. Some solve them by ‘feeling one’s way’ from the start to the end. Others, or those who are well-acquainted with such puzzles, would have figured out that it is a lot more efficient to start from the end. This strategy of beginning with the end is not strange in the workplace. The company’s annual goals, one’s performance targets, or the objectives of any project should all be decided upon first before executing the details.
In marketing, Facebook’s Ad Manager applies the same concept. It starts by asking for your advertising goals. Then, it offers advertising packages depending on your desired level – brand awareness, target reach, or degree of interaction with your audience. Facebook then optimizes the effectiveness of your advertisements according to your choices.
Guard against always chasing the next big thing.
Everyone knows how to set goals. But the devil is in the implementation. When it comes to digital and social media marketing, these tend to be overlooked in the implementation of a project. This could be partly due to the sheer amount of details arising during the execution phase. Or perhaps, throughout implementation. There is a tendency to incorporate any new idea that pops up. This is after seeing attractive features put out by someone, somewhere, or by a certain brand. Or being intrigued by the technology of a certain platform. It could also be a result of an insatiable craving to incorporate more goals into the project. Thus, it detracts the original strategy.
This is known as the Shiny Object Syndrome. It is a behavior of being constantly attracted to novel ideas, resulting in a deviation from the very goals that business had set out for itself. It has been observed that those who are most likely to suffer from such a symptom are the management — the decision-makers — in an organization. When working with my advertising clients, I often hear things like ‘I want to make a viral clip’, ‘I want to make an App’, and ‘I want to have AR’. This demonstrates how original objectives may be neglected for the sake of constantly pursuing novelty.
Reverse engineering is a successful business.
To dissect and comprehend the ‘inverted bullet’, concept is an esoteric study of film art and scientific theory. In my opinion, marketing is relatively more straightforward, apart from having to overcome the Shiny Object Syndrome as discussed above. I like to spend time analyzing successful online businesses as part of my research. This is in addition to poring over the marketing content that they put out. I also apply the concept of ‘time inversion’.
Let me illustrate. The marketing objective of any successful online business is to have customers click on its website and make a purchase. In this regard, I will carefully study their website, the entire user experience, as well as the customer shopping process. I will even do a deep dive into their website, which is a bit like how boys enjoy taking their toys apart. I ‘take apart’ these highly successful websites to fully understand their technology and features.
This tactic is called Reverse Engineering. It’s much easier than ‘time inversion’. You just have to be willing to brush up on a little technical know-how. A nifty website profiler tool that I use and like is Built With. It lists all the technologies used behind a website. This includes displaying the site’s platform, language, content management system, plug-in, and so on. With the tool, it’s no longer a challenge to uncover the secrets of highly successful websites.