It caught your eye. A turn of phrase. A gleam in the sunlight. And voila! You were distracted by some shiny new object.

A hundred and fifty years ago we would have called it a nugget of gold, gleaming on a river bank. Today, it’s likely to be some shiny new app online. “Look what it does!” “Wouldn’t that be a great thing to offer our customers?” “Can we use that next time?!”

The internet brought us myriad new ways to reach prospective customers. We used to produce beautiful, printed newsletters that were mailed through post office to existing and prospective clients every month. Now we are being drown in email newsletters we may or may not remember having subscribed to.

Corners of our screens now erupt into noisy, unwanted video clips trying to draw our eyes to them while we read something else of interest in another part of the screen. “Wow! Should we use noisy, unwanted videos to reach prospective customers too?”

Boom! There goes the marketing plan

A surefire way to torpedo your marketing efforts is to follow the distractions of new marketing tactics and ideas. As a new marketing director, I found that every publication, postcard-deck producer and advertising venue knocked on my door, phoned and tried to hunt me down. (This was in the pre-internet era.) Promising ones were granted an audience. But responding, as a business owner, takes you away from your most important tasks—revenue generation.

If, like email spam, you’ve no way to rid yourself of the onslaught of inquiries from advertising mediums, then I strongly advise you to develop a plan to manage them—not the other way around.

  1. Ask them to send a brief email explanation about the product or service.
  2. Do NOT read and respond to it immediately after it arrives in your inbox.
  3. If it’s not brief, as requested, delete it. You don’t want to be working with someone who doesn’t respond to your directions.
  4. When you do finally skim the email, ask yourself whether or not it has a place in your current marketing plan. If it does, you can proceed to explore it further. If it doesn’t, you can ask yourself if your marketing plan has a newly discovered hole in it. (Probably it doesn’t because you’re smart!)
  5. But it’s shiny and pretty (even if it doesn’t fit your plan)!


I see more marketing strategies and marketing plans get wildly off track because business owners allow themselves to be distracted by shiny new objects. More than anything, I see it turn into destruction. Now the marketing calendar gets way off its timeline. Funds planned for another marketing tactic get hijacked for Shiny New Object. And it devolves from there…

Look at it this way: If Shiny New Object is so fantastic, it will be there and waiting for you next year or next quarter when you can give it full consideration and review before implementing it as a tactic. Better to review it and decide if it’s a fit after you’ve taken off those rose-colored glasses.

Most often, whether or not Shiny New Object produces good results, I see it robbing business owners of their most valuable asset: their time.

Beware the Shiny New Object! Stay on focus!