Google GlassesTrue story. Actually just happened. Fortunately a great business lesson was reaffirmed and no one got hurt in the making of this story.

Do not walk around with marketing blinders on.

Just because you know something and you think it is great, does not necessarily mean that everyone will agree. And while I work and promote digital efforts I always counsel my clients that their digital efforts do not operate in a vacuum and they should never be siloed from all other activities. So here goes.

In addition to my role here as the owner of Gadarian Digital where I help business owners and stakeholders with their Digital Identity Management, I also a a board member on my local Chamber of Commerce. Participating at this local level is a great opportunity for me to get hands-on & mind-on perspective.

So long story short… our Chamber features a few big annual events, one of which we are currently mid-stream on in terms of promotion. With that in mind all the Board Members agreed that we would divide the town’s business parks up and each canvas a park. Nothing special here. Just an ordinary story so far.

As the Board Members (myself included) where talking about how best to achieve on our upcoming campaign at one point I asked the other members if we should prepare a script or any other materials. I was told it was not going to be necessary as the “ask” was pretty straight forward.

Mind you, our Chamber of Commerce is a not for profit, and our biggest event is that we have for the past 20+ years assumed the financial burden for our town’s Fourth of July Parade, so it would seem that from the perspective of the town’s business owners there would be a heavy appetite to support. I mention this only because of what comes next.

So, off I went to my predetermined business park to make “something” happen. As I entered a few different business I was met with an incredulous look not because of what I was saying, and I don’t think because of how I present in person (I’m a decent looking guy and I am pretty confident that “intimidating” is not among the early words that a stranger would use to describe me).

The big hang up was that I did not have any paper in my hand.

It was a great moment for me as a digital marketer because it once again provided me with real life proof that while in my “world” sending someone to my site is expected, in other “worlds” paper is still very much king. As I talked to a few business owners and shopkeepers it became quickly apparent that despite my having no intention of trying to directly collect money of any kind (we have a website that handles that), when I said to people that they could get complete details for our upcoming event and the opportunities that they might participate in by visiting the chamber’s website what I was in effect doing was speaking in a language that they were uncomfortable with and not trusting of.

Don’t get me wrong. This has nothing to do with the business owners. The error was completely mine and mine alone. I was asking people to make a leap that in this particular area they were not yet ready to make. The result was after a few shops I decided to pack it in and I’ll head back in a few days with “paper” in hand.

Not only will I have paper in hand, but I will also distribute my “paper” to my other board members as they too will be able to benefit as I suspect the business park I visited was not unique. The net result I can only hope is that we meet our goals and are once again able to deliver a really fun parade.

And again, it was a great lesson.

In terms of the bigger picture, there is also another huge lesson to share with you – that of course being, just because a way to market makes sense to you, don’t assume that it will make sense to everyone else. So just like the title says, if you are going to engage in marketing it is probably a great idea to utilize a number of strategies and methods rather than simply relying on one particular concept to carry you all the way through.

Even in my own business, while I am heavily invested in digital marketing I still market in other “non-digital” ways as well. For those “non-digital” avenues my site then serves as a great validator for both my business and my process.

Hope that helps. If you have a similar story you’d like to share below, I’ll look forward to hearing all about it.

Image Credit: Project Glasses by Google