Over the weekend I had some Twitter conversations (yes, it’s possible despite the 140-character-at-a-time limitations) with several No Biz Like Horse Biz readers about last week’s 52 Fridays post on static vs. dynamic websites. There were some distinct preferences and beliefs about what’s best, but that’s not the point here; the point is that the Internet, websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, yada yada yada, don’t have a magic formula that’s going to help any horse business achieve overnight success and reach staggering numbers of followers…they’re just tools. The magic is in how you combine and use them to connect to your customers.
You might have heard the term ‘app-killer’ – it’s short for ‘applications killer,’ as in ‘which application will kill off the one before it?’ There are some true app-killers, such as when VHS videotape so dominated the marketplace that Beta went away, but mostly people figure out what they like about the new method and incorporate it into their daily routine. We have smaller slices of ‘more’ and make it work for how we live.
I was reading an older issue of Vanity Fair yesterday, and they’ve been running these ‘magazines are stronger than ever’ ads with the tagline The Power of Print®. This particular one had a headline that asked:
Will the Internet kill magazines?
Did instant coffee kill coffee?
And the answer is….no. Coffee is still around, instant coffee is still around. In addition, there are any number of new ways to get your java fix, whether you fix it yourself or pay someone to do it for you.
There’s a perfect non-horse example of this ‘app-killer’ mindset in the music industry. Yes, there are any number of ways to buy, download, and share music in MP3 formats, and cars now have input jacks for iPods alongside their CD player. But is that the only way? Nawwww! CDs and even vinyl albums are still available for purchase! Did you know there’s a secondary industry in ‘vinyl to MP3′ conversion programs and equipment? You can transfer songs from your old vinyl collection into MP3 format, and burn it to a CD. Revolutionary idea! The point is, each of the delivery methods is just that, a tool for helping you listen to your music.
One of my weekend Twitter conversationalists, the lovely Susie Blackmon of Horsealicious, tweeted me a link to this New York Times article Blogs Wane As The Young Drift To Sites Like Twitter. You’d think blogs were on their way out with yesterday’s trash and that I better pack it in and not waste my time here, wouldn’t you?
However, here’s what I see in that article:
- kids have short attention spans and don’t like writing long blog posts because it’s ‘work’ and a ‘lonely’ activity they get little external reinforcement for
- we all want to share and connect with friends and family
- there’s a difference between ‘small talk’ and ‘meaty’ content and preferred delivery methods for each
- communities, and readers, form around clearly-defined and communicated subject matter
I believe a horse business must focus first on the basics as a foundation, and work into achieving the nuances of greatness, just as a rider must do. Great marketing and PR is like great riding; both require clarity, focus, dedication, and effort, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy the heck out of them.
So let’s take a deep breath, focus on things like goals and target audiences for the outstanding products and services we’ve developed, and build ways to welcome even more people into the horse community. And oh yes, use the various tools at our disposal, but only if they fit our needs and those of our customers.