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The Toughest Question

by Randall Craig on April 21, 2011

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Strategy

With millions of pages written on the subject, presumably there is an answer for every Social Media question that comes up.  Unfortunately, this is not the case – and it’s not Google’s fault.  When the web first started, the challenge was that with so few sites, there was very little that could be indexed.  Today, the opposite is true:  there is too much.  And with so much shifting simultaneously, any answer you find is probably not a perfect match.  And if it is close, it soon becomes stale-dated.

Consider where this complexity comes from, and why the problem will only continue to grow:

1) The business environment is shifting. Yesterday’s answers won’t necessarily work today, and certainly won’t work tomorrow.

2) Technology is changing. Consider that a mere few years ago, there was no YouTube, Groupon, or iPads.  And the underlying technologies (all with strange names like Ajax, Cloud, VOIP, etc) are completely new.

3) Marketing is no longer the same. From the old school of the four P’s (price/product/place/promotion), to the new school of crowdsourcing, viral marketing, and Social Media marketing, businesses have a dramatic increase in the number of tools available.

4) Business Strategy is changing. Each business has a unique history, and (hopefully) a unique strategy moving forward: the “right” answer that you find (which was written for one purpose) is not necessarily correct for yours.  And of course, since strategies change every few years, an answer that might have sufficed back then may be wholly inadequate now.

And with this complexity, Google and other search engines need to prioritize an ever-growing index of content, making finding the relevant – and the right – answers even doubly hard.

This week’s action plan: Over the years I have tackled a number of management and social media topics, but now, I would like to turn the question back to you:  What would you like to see addressed in upcoming Tipsheets?  What is the one question that you’ve always wanted answered… or at least a new perspective on?  This week, help me help you by either commenting on my blog, or sending an email to me at editor (at) ptadvisors (dot) com.  Finding the right answer may be tough, but your feedback means these Tipsheets can help.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

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Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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