Alternative To The Shiney New Thing

Dave Farrow      Thursday, November 2, 2017

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Have you ever been a victim of the Shiny-New-Thing Syndrome?  You hear about a new flashy way to market products. You see the testimonials and success stories. You hear others talking about it.

Every entrepreneur has thought “FINALLY!!  This new thing is going to solve all my marketing problems in one fell swoop.”


It’s exciting, like finding a shiny new object.

I am not here to say you are wrong. I am not here to say new marketing opportunities don’t work. Some shiny new things can produce amazing results but often the hype is greater than the payoff.  Behavioral economists call this the bubble effect. It happens in the stock market, real state, it can even occur on the small scale of an individual. An economic bubble is formed when the price of a thing far exceeds the value of that thing.

The kind of entrepreneur that frequently falls victim to Shiny-New-Thing Syndrome often lacks a solid marketing plan.  Some people put more thought into their morning coffee selection than into marketing purchases!


The alternative is a planner. An entrepreneur who maps out and plans the stages of growth in their company. The interesting thing is that this shift in mindset has less to do with what marketing tool you buy and more to do with WHY you buy them. Two entrepreneurs can invest in making an app or running a Facebook campaign. But one will become a bubble that bursts and the other is a stable plan.


The Dutch Tulip 
To this day, the tulip craze of the 1630s stands as one of the best examples of a financial bubble. People bought tulips for their speculative value and because of this the price rose.

It started simply enough. The Dutch Tulip was sought-after because of its beauty and these flowers became a form of wealth and stability. As demand for the bulbs grew, prices rose, and professional growers would pay increasingly higher prices for them. This bubble peaked in 1636 when tulip contracts were selling for more than 11x the annual income of a skilled laborer. The bubble collapsed in February 1637 and within months, tulips were selling for 1/100th of the peak prices.

This happened because of human nature. It can happen to masses as well as individuals. You can also avoid it from happening to you if you change your mindset.


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Do you make marketing purchases with the Bubble Mindset?The economist Hyman P. Minsky identified five stages to a bubble:


1. Displacement: Something new happens or is created. A technology like the internet or a type of flower gets a high demand.


2. Boom: Prices rise slowly then gain a sharp momentum as more people buy. This is the early adopters jumping on the trend. During this stage, there are a lot of media stories and buzz on the subject.


3. Euphoria: During this phase the friends, and acquaintances of the early adopters buy, driving the price through the roof. The price spike looks like the end of a hockey stick. At this phase, the resale value is used to justify the price instead of the value of the purchase. (Think of paying a lot for a house because prices are going up instead of because there are hardwood floors and a good location.)


4. Profit Taking: The more prudent people jump out because they fear a bubble is going to pop. Many try to estimate the exact time a bubble is going to pop…often with terrible results. Once the speculation value of a price pops then it will never recover.


5. Panic: This stage is self-explanatory. Everyone tries to sell before the price gets too low and this causes the price to drop faster.



Bubbles are Shiny!!

Shiny-New-Thing Syndrome is very similar to the Bubble MindsetWe see others making money and we want to join in but often by the time you hear about a new marketing tactic, the early adopters have all made their money. Most people find out about an opportunity at the euphoria stage where no one has noticed that the shiny new thing is not so new anymore.

By the time you hear about a new marketing trick, it has been done. Often. The exact moment you jump on the band wagon, others have as well. The marketing tool is not the problem. It’s how we respond to the marketing opportunity that is the problem. In this article I want to show you what has worked for me to help avoid getting caught up in the frenzy of shiny things.



What are you comparing yourself to? The reason bubbles grow and pop, lies in the fact that people compare themselves to others. You see how much profit others are making and want to jump in while it’s hot. It’s helpful to be competitive however interviews of successful people often show that fulfillment and true success come from comparing yourself to some objective marker or comparing to past performance, not to your neighbor.


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Traffic Jam Analogy:

Most people are running their business like they drive. Imagine being stuck in traffic. You see the lane to your right start moving fast and try every aggressive trick you can to get into that lane as other drivers honk and share some sign language with you. What happens next? The lane you are in slows and the lane you came from starts moving. The problem was you were comparing yourself to the other cars instead of to the map. You weren’t looking at the larger picture.

Taken further, imagine you are driving at a good pace and another person drives past you very fast. This is how it feels when you are running your business successfully and notice a friend or competitor win a major sale, prize or success. The desire is to start speeding to catch up. But ask yourself how many times that has happened when driving only to have that speeding car pulled over at the side of the road later in your trip.


Measure your success based on the road, not the other cars.


Expect Wins and Losses

When you get out of the shiny thing mindset you enter a world where every marketing tool is useful. I have had friends tell me to act quickly on a new app or lead source. If it has good metrics I will test it with a small purchase…then wait for results.

On the day a business colleague told me to never hire sales staff because it didn’t work out for him, I hired one staff member who surprised me by filling my calendar well.


Test with Small Dollars

Ever loan a friend money only to realize it was not a loan but a gift? Marketing can be that way. If you spend every marketing dollar expecting a big return you will be disappointed. Set yourself up mentally to expect many tests to not work. I have a rule in my businesses that every venture must make a profit from the beginning and not leach off the other. For the most part I have followed this rule. That means an income property needs to be its own profit center and pay its own bills as does a Facebook campaign for a product. However, as you know many marketing ventures do not work. That is the nature of marketing. You are trying to get a hold of an ideal client/customer and it is impossible to know for sure what will work until you try it. So, test with small dollars, then scale up.



Keep your Vision.

The most important point is to have and keep a vision. Every morning I go through a visualization routine to keep my vision of what my various business ventures will be doing. Every time I have kept to this practice, I have been surprised by the success that rolls through the door and every time I got lazy and didn’t do a daily practice of keeping my vision, then I’ve had unexpected failures.

For me the rules of visualization are simple, and have a lot in common with the memory techniques I taught for decades. The first principle of memory and visualization is that your mind on some level cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. Obviously, you know that a movie you are watching is fake. It is created in a studio and manipulated in an editing suite. The actors are all highly paid and have very public lives. Yet when you see this movie you cry, laugh, in other words you feel.  Why is that? Because a part of your brain thinks it actually happened.


This is why having a vision is so important. The vision you keep in your mind (and everyone has a vision... they often don’t take control of it) The vision you keep is the movie of your life. It is the script that your heart and team will follow, and it works.

Here is the key to this entire article: If you read to the end you may have already seen a connection. How having a vision is essential to a successful venture but more than that it will save you from the shiny new thing temptation.

Ask yourself why you fall for the shiny new thing every time? Why do people spend their whole budget on one thing that promises big rewards instead of diversifying and testing? Because they are following another person’s vision. The person selling the shiny new thing has a vision. They paint a picture of your life after you buy it and you adopt that vision because you don’t have a vision already.


Every successful person I know has a vision with them. They carry it everywhere they go. So, when they see a new thing shining, they stop and compare it to their vision. They see if it fits the vision or not. They vet it, and that makes a world of difference.

Because the flaw in always looking for the next shiny new thing is not in the product or tactic you are following but rather the fact that you are following another’s vision instead of having your own.


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