Clear Vision, Solid Strategy Development, Cant Lose

Strategy development requires using different types of data to establish a plan to help people achieve their goals. It’s like developing a vision for a customer, so in some ways it forces you to be a bit of a visionary. The concept of “visionary” has been on my mind thanks to this unattributed quote a friend posted on Twitter:

“Many think visionaries turn their back on the rest of us when they’re really leading us to the future.”

This quote challenges me because I see it casting the “visionary” in an excessively positive light. While I love following what trailblazers are up to, I can’t even imagine what the world would look like if every new “vision” of the future came to fruition. Ultimately I’ve found the visionaries I tend to gravitate toward aren’t those who always declare the “newest” thing the only way to go, but those who instead try to place “new” things in context for achieving strategic objectives.

I have been confronted with this challenge more as I’ve worked in marketing and strategy development because it seems visionaries in this field are constantly coming up with new ideas. This flood of ideas makes it important to figure out which visionary we should follow.

One of my favorite “non-traditional” social media tools isQuora, where people ask questions and others answer them. What impresses me about Quora is the depth of knowledge people are willing to share on the site. Some questions on Quora are clearly bait to entice an audience for people trying to out-impress each other with their savvy on a particular topic, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw this question asked: “What are some of the most ingenious ways to increase traffic to a website?”

This question had all the earmarks of being placed by a bunch of marketers desperate for people to click on a link to a website hawking their “latest and greatest” wares.

Imagine my surprise whenthis question actually got a legitimate, thoughtful response from none other than Ryo Chiba, visionary co-founder of the popular social media aggregation platform Tint. His answer – understandably the overwhelming favorite – explains in a nutshell how pursing a well-planned and consistently executed search engine optimization strategy delivers solid results every time.

Chiba speaks from experience, because while he launched his marketing website using a number of “ingenious” solutions like virality loops, open graph actions, publicity stunts, and press pushes, none of them were successful. The only sustained success he experienced with his marketing website was through a consistentsearch engine optimization strategy.

While lately some marketing visionaries have popularized beating up on the term “search engine optimization,” it’s not clear that their particular vision is any different from what responsible marketers have always considered to be part of an effective search engine optimization strategy.

My point isn’t to suggest that all visionaries are bad – only that you should be careful which you follow. While my friend’s quote suggests that the interest of the visionary is to lead us to a brighter, more positive future, the reality is many visionaries are so busy discovering something “new” that they’re not worried about whether their vision actually adds value to your marketing strategy development.

Do you favor those who are constantly breaking new ground or do you prefer those who put new concepts into strategic context? Let us know which “type” of visionary you prefer (feel free to share some examples) and why in the comments below!