I'm not one for New Year's resolutions; why make big promises to yourself on just New Year's Eve when you could and should be doing them year-round? The same goes for business; if you know you're doing something wrong, or half-right, you should always be revisiting and revising your strategy.
In 2012 we saw lots of trends, some good and some bad for our industry. We had strong patches and rough patches, and we did a lot of soul-searching and grappling with how we should position our company and where we should focus our efforts. As always there were some projects that were our most profitable, some our least profitable, some our most enjoyable and successful, and some our least successful. The most profitable was not always the most successful nor the most enjoyable.
But what I personally came to realize was this: the Internet of Today is much like the Internet of 1999. It is almost back to the Wild West days where there are a lot of "experts" proposing "strategies for success", but so few people really have a good handle on the entire ecosystem of the Internet, and even fewer have the ability to devise a game plan that they can articulate to a business that is looking to get set up in the best fashion possible.
You should be doing [this]
Most of the "experts" (yes, in quotes) that I've been following online are very one-note oriented. They pitch one solution, or maybe two, as the cure-all for almost all lacks of success on the Internet. Whether it's Facebook, Hubspot, SEO, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or any other instant success solution, all it really is is snake oil. You might feel good for a day or so, diligently applying it and spending lots of money on refills, only to realize that after all of that money and effort you have only short-term gains to show for it and you're back where you started.
The projects that I felt were the most successful in 2012 were the ones where we worked with the client to devise a comprehensive strategy for how they were going to use the web to help them cultivate their business, and took advantage of the tools available to them, and the time available to them, to help them accomplish their goals. All possible options were on the table, but we then worked with the client to identify the ones that made the most sense for them and their business. A solution had to be able to show long-term benefits in addition to short-term gains in order for it to become part of the solution-set.
For some businesses this translated into custom software development, for others it meant working with them to set up their profiles in G+ and capitalize on social media engagement, and for others it meant working on their content strategy and facilitating the development of a blog-based site. It felt good to put together the right solutions for the client, continually work with them to augment the solution/strategy we developed, and see the returns that they generated.
So this year is going to be the year of less grasping at straws and more building of foundations. Less trying to find the next bandwagon to jump on and more defining and redefining our strategy.
Thank you for reading and wishing you a very successful and prosperous 2013!