Are You a Short-Term Reactionary or a Long-Term Visionary?

Are You a Short-Term Reactionary or a Long-Term Visionary?

We’re deep in earnings season for the third quarter of 2015, when public companies report their financial performance. As usual, there were surprises that had an immediate effect on stock prices. 

One in particular was that of Ford Motor Company, which had the most profitable quarter in the company’s 112-year history. But it missed Wall Street analysts’ earnings per share estimate by one penny, sending the stock into a five percent drop. [Disclosure: I used to work for Ford and still hold Ford stock.]

We’re used to seeing Twitter’s stock hammered by Wall Street around earnings time, as it has been under scrutiny for its leadership changes, user growth and advertising revenue.

Unfortunately, Wall Street’s preoccupation with quarter-over-quarter performance and demands for results in such a short period of time are common occurrences in this global economy. They’re a symptom of something more insidious at work: a lack of attention, and an inability to commit to the long term.

Recently, Mark Schaefer wrote about measuring social media, including what is being measured, but more importantly, when you’re measuring. I was struck by the when, because it fits exactly with what’s going on with Wall Street.

Straight out of the gate, social media can have an impact on awareness more than any kind of financial gain. After you’ve been doing that with some consistency over time, you can measure reliable reach—that is, building a connection with your audience. And finally, the third phase is where you’ll be able to see the financial gain, as your consistent efforts turn into leads and sales

The challenge is that many brands focus on the last phase, and that phase can take 1-3 years! If your measurement focuses only on what’s being delivered in the short term (the when) and looks for financial gains (the what), you’re measuring the wrong thing at the wrong time.

So, just as Wall Street needs to focus on the long game, so do marketers. We need to be committed to a long-term content strategy that brings different benefits over a longer time frame.

If you have the intelligence and bravery to pull it off, your personal stock will rise.

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