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  • Swimming against the tide – the contrary approach to decision making

  • No one can possibly achieve any real and lasting success or ‘get rich’ in business by being a conformist. – J P Getty

    In the short term the market is a popularity contest; in the long term it is a weighing machine. – Warren Buffett

    Why do two of the foremost successful businessmen in recent times believe that following the crowd is not a good idea – yet the average Joe follows the popular belief of the day and wonders why he never succeeded?

    When Buffett invests in a company, he isn’t concerned with whether the market will eventually recognize its worth (the demand and supply as reflected by the stock market); he is concerned with how well that company can make money as a business.  In essence, he discounts the value placed on the stock by “the market” and focuses simply on the value it represents to him as an investor and its likelihood to succeed.

    Decision making in business should never be about “what everyone else is doing”.  It should be about what is right for you.  At that moment in time.

    Deciding what to do about marketing your business should be seen in the same light.  Unfortunately, these days people tend to dive into social media marketing because everyone else is doing that.  That’s akin to buying a stock on the stock market simply because it is rising in price (demand is pushing up the price regardless whether that price is justified or offers value) – however, common sense dictates that if you want to make money, you buy when the price is low, not when it is high.

    Instead of following the crowd, learn from people that have experienced real success.  They make their decision on logic – not based on popularity.  You may end up doing the same thing, but wouldn’t you feel more comfortable if you knew the decision was fact and logic based – rather than on popularity?

    This thinking can and should be applied to the current (and future) state of social media.  They are getting so busy that no-one can create a breakthrough, and everyone really looks the same.  This article provides a fantastic insight on what is happening in that space.

    So, what is the learning here? Don’t follow the crowd blindly, you’ll get noticed more if you are moving against the human tide of decision-making.  As long as your decision is still based on logic, don’t worry – it will work out better than in the crowd.

    Neville Pokroy consults in the areas of strategic marketing planning, as well as in the development and execution of marketing strategies and plans. He assists companies who require marketing expertise to plan and fully execute marketing programs.  If you want to have more choice in marketing your business and in setting yourself apart, visit our website.