Identifying Perpetual Novice Syndrome

From the moment you hear about a new tool, technology or trend, the clock starts running. As marketers, we’re expected to figure out what it is, evaluate its appropriateness for our organizations, vet competitive solutions, integrate it with our IT infrastructure, begin executing it flawlessly and stand ready to prove why it is such a great investment.

Instead of the field of marketing being comprised of people who have had time to develop expertise and judiciously act on their knowledge, however, it is increasingly populated by perpetual novices — people so busy trying to learn the next new thing that they can’t master anything.

It seems as though most marketers are trying to cope with the breakneck pace of change by simply running faster. Yet, the net effect of this is a loss of marketing effectiveness. Why? It’s exhausting – for you and your team.

So what can be done? Clearly, the answer is not taking things slower. Perhaps you can wait it out? After all, the rapid rate of change could be an “acute” rather than a “chronic” condition of the current environment. If it is the former, the rate of innovation will return in the near future to a more manageable pace.

What we believe to be far more likely is that a constant state of disruption is the “new norm.” If that is the case, an entirely different type of behavioral approach will be needed to thrive in such an environment.

Take advertising via Facebook, for example. Just as the social media platform itself changes for the average user, so too does its advertising capabilities. Facebook’s acquisition of the photo sharing application Instagram allows marketers to expand their reach by syncing posts across both sites’ platforms without any extra work on the part of the advertiser. Parameters for different posts continue to evolve as more capabilities become available, leaving advertisers to stay up to the minute on updates to the platform.

The emergence of more and more sophisticated tools, technologies and channels separated by shorter and shorter time intervals is not something we can control. What we can control is how well we adapt to such an environment. Increasingly, this will be the key determinant of whether we realize a positive return on acceleration. In fact, you may set yourself up for success in overcoming perpetual novice syndrome by utilizing these strategies.


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