Why do we do what we do? It’s a great question, posed by Joe Pulizzi, friend and colleague, and founder and CEO at the Content Marketing Institute in a post that lays it straight out — “Your WHAT Doesn’t Matter if Your WHY Is Lacking“. Let’s find out how knowing the answer is key to business success and in so doing learn why one paddles a canoe.
Joe wrote the foreward for our new book on CRO — Conversion Rate Optimization. Optimization for conversions (when a visitor comes to your site and takes a step closer to doing business with you) is part of what we do because it helps marketers win more qualified leads. And conversions are one of the focus areas in our marketing strategy model we follow which we call R.A.C.E. — Reach, Act, Convert, Engage. Again, that’s what we do, but why do we do this? You might as well ask why do canoe enthusiasts paddle canoes (I will give you my answer below)?
I know what Joe does — he provides resources to help Content Marketers including content marketing conferences which I have attended a couple of times (highly recommended).
I know what each of our healthcare clients do. For example, one provides software for hospitals so they can manage revenues better. I know what our hotel clients do — they provide a resting place at a vacation destination. But why… why are we all in business?
Why ask why? The answer is that your marketing success depends more on the why and less on the what. Or, as Pulizzi puts it, “Your why is the problem your product solves.” Ok, let’s see then:
- Content Marketing Institute‘s what is content marketing education. Why? “So that enterprise marketers can be more successful in their jobs”.
- Our SSI Group client’s what is, hospital revenue cycle software. Why? Empowering hospitals to work more efficiently and better satisfy patients.
- Our Croc’s Resort client in Costa Rica’s what is a beachside hotel with three restaurants, bars, casino, condos, 5-star pool, spa, disco and business convention center. Why? For the pure enjoyment of getting away to an adventure in a tropical paradise.
Last night at an Elmer’s restaurant I noticed their new menu included pictures of people smiling a lot. Some showed friends enjoying a meal. What that restaurant does is prepare food. Why they do it is to provide positive experiences for people that get together. Common sense, right? Sure, but take a look at your content today and ask yourself if you are so focused on what, that you have forgotten the why.
This reminds me of the old advertising adage — sell the sizzle, not the steak. The steak is what you sell, the sizzle is why you are doing it in the first place. So in that light, a hotel client provides a vacation experience… not just a hotel. Content Marketing Institute empowers marketers to succeed — their reason why they create related content.
At Webdirexion, I know that Margot enjoys transforming strategy into action; Julie loves writing in an engaging way that is relevant for the reader and also for SEO; Miranda loves writing and also the full range of digital marketing that helps clients succeed, Serhii enjoys empowering websites through programming, Sherri likes solving customer service needs, and Era likes proposing solutions that work for prospects. Me? Put concisely, I do what I do because I enjoy empowering business people to connect with other people of value to them. The what is the marketing strategy, tactics, and tools we use. But the why is simply connection. Meaningful connection. We are marketing communicators, and that means we value telling important stories about what our clients do and provide. Those stories are the key to connection.
So, what about paddling a canoe? About 20 years ago, I was a member of a canoe racing team that journeyed to Australia to participate in a series of festivals and contests involving very large canoes holding 20 or more paddlers. These vessels are known as “dragon boats”, and one of the principal organizers at that time, a “dragon” in his own right behind these events, was Dr. Joel Schilling, or “Doc” as we all called him. The Doc was fond of saying to us, “it’s not about paddling.” And he was right. Paddling, you see, was “what we did”, but the reason why we did it was to have an adventure with like-minded, fun-loving friends engaged in a healthy pursuit that took them to interesting places.