Your website. Your Twitter account. Your ad campaign. Your software update. The product you’re building. The brochure you’re designing. The event you’re organizing. The course you’re launching.
What’s it for?
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin’s work and that he’s changed the way I think about marketing. I just completed The Marketing Seminar he founded and started running this past spring and this is something we talked about a lot.
Why are you doing it? What change are you trying to make? For who?
What’s it for?
This ties into a whole whack of stuff, but I keep circling back to that single question. Not just in my professional life but my personal life, too.
We do all these things—start blogs and Instagram accounts, release software updates and launch courses, buy gym memberships and new clothes—without bothering to ask why. Why the heck are we doing it?
Your ad campaign… Is it to get new customers or reassure existing ones they made the right choice? Is it to encourage action (sign up now!) or increase awareness (branding)?
Your blog… Is it to teach someone something? Is it to get newsletter signups? Is it to sell something? Is it a personal outlet and it wouldn’t matter if no one read it? Is it to build a community?
There’s no right or wrong answer. For me this isn’t about morality or judgment, it’s simply about awareness. If your Instagram account is for engagement (followers and likes) or your blog is for ad revenue that’s totally fine, just be clear with yourself because it dictates your actions.
Knowing why you’re doing something helps you decide the actions you’ll take and how you’ll measure the results. It helps you qualify what’s a success and what’s a failure. When you know what signs you’re looking for it’s a lot easier to tune out the noise. Instead of looking around at other Twitter accounts and feeling anxious that you don’t have more followers you can say, “Oh right, that’s not why I’m here. That’s not what it’s for.”
Know what it’s for and own it.
It saves you from chasing the wrong metrics and throwing resources at dead-ends. It serves as a kind of reality check.
From the cover of Seth Godin’s new book, Footprints on the Moon, which you can’t buy. (Seriously.) Check out his note explaining why not. Also, isn’t the text effect on the cover amazing?