Don’t Fire Your Social Media Marketing Company Until You Enter “The Room”

Don’t Fire Your Social Media Marketing Company Until You Enter “The Room”

This article was supposed to be about Pinterest. More importantly it was an article that was going to make Cynthia Sanchez of Oh So Pinteresting, Alisa Meredith of Scalable Social Media and Jeff Sieh of Manly Pinterest Tips very happy and excited.

Alas, life took a left turn and you’ll have to wait two weeks to learn what I have to say about Pinterest. I hope you’ll come back for that, but right now I want to talk about social media and video games.

Wait! Hold on. Hang in for just a minute it’ll all make sense.

I want to share the story of a friend of mine that has hired and fired many marketing companies of various disciplines.

SEO company? Hired. Then fired.

Social media marketing company? Hired. Then fired.

Social Search Guru Shaman Rockstar? Hired. Then Fired.

What they all had in common is that none of them got close to the three month mark with my pal. By the second month he was reading the bail out clause of the contract to figure out how quickly he could fire the company. His rationale was simple: they weren’t producing results. In casual conversation I explained to him that programs need time to take root before they can have a noticeable effect, but he was having none of it.

A few days ago, a news story popped up on my feed that was so amazing that I had to share it with him and with you.

If you aren’t familiar with gaming, there is a game series called Halo that reinvented the first person shooter on the Xbox in 2001. The game was a critical and financial success and has spawned a number of sequels and spinoffs.

One spinoff is a game called Halo:Reach, which was released in 2010. The storyline isn’t important, but one level of the game is. It’s called The Long Night of Solace.

This level takes place in a hangar when you as the hero need to defeat various enemies and escape unharmed. The level itself is beautifully designed and rendered. No detail was spared. The hangar where the gameplay takes place has many details, one of which is a room way up near the ceiling where a flying combat aircraft known as a Banshee sits. The room is utterly unreachable due to its height and location, not to mention the energy shield which bars entry.

Of note is that this room is cosmetic only and has no impact on gameplay or the narrative of the story. But that has not stopped legions of gaming fans from trying to get into that room.

Let’s be clear that the room is not a useable surface by the player. But that has not stopped legions of gaming fans from trying to get into that room.

It’s also important to recognize that the shape of the area surrounding the room doesn’t have steps, railing or any other architectural element that would allow a player to attempt to gain access to the room. But that has not stopped legions of gaming fans from trying to get into that room.

As it turns out, the fact that the room is utterly unreachable did not dissuade a small contingent of fans from painstakingly agonizing over every detail of the level until in mid 2015, five years after the release of the game, a group of interstellar spelunkers made their way into the unreachable room.

Nerds rejoice.

The article I mentioned before described this as “amazing and ridiculous.” Yep. I agree.

So what’s important about this? Is this a story about perseverance? Is this a story of sheer will?

As it turns out, no.

It’s the story of strategy and tactics. The group responsible for getting into the room didn’t just button mash their way in with brute force. They spent years testing and noting every aspect of the room. An organized group of players broke down the research into chunks and each one was tested, evaluated, retested and either abandoned or evolved. The article that I link to has a video of a successful attempt at accessing the room.

Despite being a huge Halo fan and having played and completed every game several times, I can’t possibly explain or understand how they did it. But one thing is for sure: they created a strategy. Then went tactical. When the tactics failed, they reassessed the strategy and developed new tactics.

This went on for five years.

So what does this have to do with my friend?

The room in the story is just like your marketing. No marketing program can be successful without strategy, tactics and measurement. But more importantly, you have to take the successes and failures as data that can be used to inform a new wave of strategy and tactics.

But there is another lesson here. Good results take time. Surely no business wants to invest in a marketing program that doesn’t work for five years, but I’m standing firm that two months is too short.

Like the heroes in the hangar, marketers need time for strategies to unfold. Without time, the room and your business goals will be forever out of reach.

Ralph M. Rivera
Hi, I'm Ralph! I'm a web developer at Rahvalor Interactive, a creative marketing services company that I founded in 1999 with my wife and business partner Carol Lynn. In January 2012 we created Web.Search.Social as a branded service offering that brings enterprise-level services to small businesses in an affordable way. I'm also founder and CTO of Podcaster's Toolbox, a SaaS platform designed to help podcasters plan, produce and promote their shows. I teach web development at Manhattan College in New York City. Carol Lynn and I are home based near the Jersey shore but we're currently location independent and traveling the country for a year, working and podcasting. I'm also trying to build a flux capacitor, but that's not going as well as the other stuff I do.
Ralph M. Rivera
Ralph M. Rivera
  • Wait, what happened to the audio? I refuse to read a post.

    • OH NO! I forgot to add the player :/

      Good thing you’re around to keep us on the ball! I popped it back in now so you no longer have to read 🙂

  • If you want good, lasting results from a weight loss plan, it takes time. If you want to get solid traction under your blog, it takes time. Waiting for a bad haircut to grow out takes time (Been there. Done that.) Learning to draw or play the piano or master a new social media platform takes time. Growing a new lawn takes time. Growing a baby takes time (9 months, to be exact).

    So …

    Why do people expect instantaneous, overnight results with their marketing?! It’s no different than all those other things that require patience, persistence, and yes … time.

    I think peoples’ disappointment in marketing companies is a case of hype, misleading information, unrealistic claims, broken promises, and an overall misconception that the internet is some kind of miracle-making machine.

    • I know, RIGHT? Of course, I still want the magic weight loss bullet that will let me eat ice cream and NOT go on the treadmill and still lose weight. But let’s just say I’m not holding my breath.

      Anyway, the internet has spawned an entire culture of “NOW” where people expect things to be fast, easy and magical.

      And… I LOVE YOUR TAGLINE! I am going to absolutely 100% steal that and call it my own.

      • Yeah, I want that doughnut/pie/cookie/ice-cream-eating weight loss plan that guarantees results WITHOUT exercising. LOL! I can see the ad now …

        Go from a size 12 to a size 2
        Devour all the cookies you like!
        Eliminate the pain of exercising
        Desired results happen overnight

        My tagline is free for the taking/stealing. 😉