I proudly wear “early adopter” like a badge. I love being on the bleeding edge of technology – having all the newest gadgets. I’m consuming information and beta testing a dozen different website and tools you probably won’t hear about for months. This “cool kid” status is not poisonous for me, since it’s my job. I’m supposed to have shiny, object syndrome so that I can tell you what is and is not worth your time.

But when marketers and business get distracted and shiny object syndrome permeates into a global marketing strategy, the outcome can be harmful.

I’ve seen this play out time and time again.  Here’s how:

1.  SHINY BUZZ COMMUNITIES –  “Let’s do a Reddit AMA/Instagram/Pinterest/Tumblr,” you say. Then three months later it’s a bygone thought. Sound familiar?

Jumping into a pre-existing community without knowing the surrounding culture, nuances, and vernacular can spell sudden death.  Many internet communities have a strong cultural law that must be abided by.  Before deciding that you’d like your company to have a presence on a popular community-based site, consider signing up for a personal account and engaging the community.

Key Lesson:  Just because a community makes headline news doesn’t imply that they’ve laid out the welcome mat for your company.  Join a community and get to know it before you grasp onto it.

Example:  Woody Harrelson did a Reddit AMA.  He didn’t understand the community and as a result got some of the most negative press imaginable for himself and his movie:  http://observer.com/2012/02/woody-harrelson-and-the-no-good-very-bad-reddit-ama/ 

2.  BUILD IT & THEY WILL COME – Three years ago, it was my job to convince people to take a good, hard look at social media as a valid marketing tool.  Now, it is my job to pull people back from idly signing up for the newest social networking site and ensure that the platforms already created have ample strategic objectives and resources.

Nothing pains me more than to see a blog with great potential that hasn’t been updated in months or a Facebook page updated once per month or a Friendster account created, updated once, and never touched again.  Build it and they will come doesn’t exist.  These communities must be nurtured, loved, and grown.   

Key LessonHave a strategy to determine the best channels for your business goals BEFORE creating a new profile and then make sure your company has the resources to ENFORCE it.

Example:  Here’s Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, with a verified Twitter account.  He follows no one and has had one tweet to date:  https://twitter.com/larryellison   

3.  SHINY TECHNOLOGY BITS – QR code, video stream, Google hangouts, podcasts, apps … I love many of these trends as much as the next person, but just because I love them doesn’t mean they fit my business, or my clients’ businesses. But before you include them in your strategy, ask, “Would my customers care?”  or “Do my customers use it?”

Not all uses of technology are a fit for your company or target audiences.

Key Lesson:  Never forget to place yourself in the role of the consumer.  Would you have to change your behavior to use the new technology or would it enhance your current experience?  If it’s not the latter, then hold off!

Example:  There are tons of companies that actively include QR codes in email signatures.  Why would you include a QR code in a place where one is already online?  Here are some more examples:  http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/8669-11-dubious-uses-of-qr-codes