Change. It’s not something easily accepted by many. Status quo. Stability. Constants. All of these give us a familiarity that many find preferable to the chaos change can bring. But what about when change is necessary? That’s what we are dealing with, happily, at DragonSearch as growth has given us an opportunity to expand into a new office today. The move puts us in new surroundings with new sights, sounds and neighbors. I’m already seeing that many habits of mine will change. And it reminded me of another habit I discovered recently that I was doing “wrong,” and I thought about how it could apply to our digital marketing work.
Apparently most of us, like me, have been eating bananas the wrong way, peeling them using the stem which is really the bottom based on how they grow on trees. The way that monkeys, and Europeans (according to our world traveler Eta), do it is to use the stem to hold it and peel it from the top. So, what does eating bananas have to do with digital marketing? It has to do with change.
Although there may not be any formal studies on the right or wrong way to peel a banana, if we consider that monkeys are the authoritative group upon which all banana eating practices should be based, it would seem that the stem-on-the-bottom method is best. But I have been eating them the “other” way for so many years. Certainly, I can’t change that habit. But then I tried it and you know what? It was easier to peel that way and, less awkward and messy to hold it when I got to the end.
The best way to learn how to change is to get buy-in, understand how the change will help and what the benefit of changing is. In the case of banana eating, the benefit was apparent immediately, so why not continue to utilize this more effective method? In cases where the data supports taking a new direction or the change brings about a positive experience, it becomes easier to implement and continue.
But sometimes the value of changing is not so apparent. When I learned how to type (allow me to date myself for a moment), personal computers were not commonplace; I learned on a typewriter (what’s that?!). Typewriters used monospacing between characters which made text look disproportionate. Having two spaces after a period made the text easier to read. More about all that here. Nowadays, fonts are pretty and proportional so there is no real need for two spaces.
This was something I had never thought about nor even knew the reasoning behind until about three months ago a coworker called me out on it after reviewing a document I had written for a client. He said, “It looks great but stop putting two spaces after periods!” So I did some research and realized, “Wow! How it is that I got this far, even through college, and no one ever mentioned it to me.” Side Note: There has been much debate about this topic. Whether you are on the single or double spaced team, let’s just assume for the sake of this post that single is the winner.
I thought it would be hard to change. I have been typing like this for almost 30 years. But, I decided to try and change. For a little while it was tough, I had to really think about what I was doing since typing is pretty subconscious. I could tell it was even slowing me down a bit. I consider myself a fast typer, especially when it is emotionally driven. But within a very short time (about a week), I noticed I could go back to subconsciously typing and not have the two spaces. I wasn’t even making mistakes or going back to my old ways.
So again, what does this have to do with digital marketing? In the cases, i.e. banana peeling, where there is buy-in or an experiential shift, change can be easier. But in the cases where you didn’t even know change was needed, you have to learn how to make it happen.
How to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Did you use rankings as a main metric for SEO success? Well those days are long over. How did you change the way you measure success now? Did you use a tool six months ago that worked for a campaign you were running? Great, but what if there are new tools out there that might be even better? Have you been posting specific content on your social networks that is performing really well? Awesome, but are you prepared for when it stops performing?
Are you ready to make a change? You always want to be two steps ahead in this ever changing world of digital marketing and the best way to do that is to find ways to continually challenge yourself to change. It doesn’t have to be just at work either. Try to eat dinner or brush your teeth with your left hand. Walk backwards from your kitchen to your living room. Force your brain to do things it’s not used to every day.
Oh and one last thing about peeling bananas: those stringy things that sometimes come off the peel and stick to banana happens less frequently when you peel them from the top. So next time you pick up a banana and you go to eat it the same way you have been eating it for years, flip it over and give it a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised at how you can change.