What would happen if I adopted all of the Social Media and digital marketing BS I usually warn you about? Wonder no more. Welcome to Day 4 of the #StepfordTBB experiment.

Unveiling the secret awesome sauce for success in 2011:

Here is how the Social Media world is shaping up for 2011: Strategy will be the big play.

Last week, we talked about how Content Strategy was going to change everything. This week, I also introduced the emerging need for New Media strategy, digital conversation strategy, social engagement strategy, Social Media internal collaboration strategy, Facebook wall strategy and avatar strategy. Each, of course, being its very own unique discipline requiring specialists to… well, develop said strategies. The lesson here is this: You are going to need qualified strategists if you expect to have solid strategies next year.

I could have loaded a lot more into that post, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you with the deluge of exciting new strategic roles emerging from the booming Social Media and digital marketing world. Among them:

Traffic strategist, Audience Development StrategistContent Marketing Necessity Strategist (sorry Jay, I couldn’t resist), Primary Domain Front Page Visibility Maximization Strategist, and… wait, do you really want me to go on? Yes? Okay, just checking. Here we go: Twitter Follower Maximization Strategist, Online Reputation Content Diversity Normalization Strategist… Wait. Hang on. There is no way I can list all new 3,976 strategy positions you are going to have to start staffing in just one post. (It would exceed the 5-10 paragraph max format suggested by my Content Strategist.)

What’s key here is really this: Don’t try to keep up with all the new strategic disciplines replacing outdated business functions. You can’t. It would take an expert to do that, and… oh wait. It just occurred to me that a good solution to this problem would be to hire a Strategic Function Proliferation Expert to handle this for you. Or a Digital Marketing/Social Media/New Media consultant. Either one. That’s step 1.

Step 2 is hiring a Strategy Strategist.

A what?

A Stra-te-gy stra-te-gist.

Never heard of it? To be fair, until this week, you had never heard of a Content Marketing Necessity Scale either. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Or shouldn’t.

Why Strategy Strategists will make the difference between winners and losers in 2011:

Let’s consider the world of business in general: How is a business, whose executives and managers are busy doing businessy things all day, supposed to adapt to this new evolution in strategic restrategization? With an Strategy Strategist to lead the way, that’s how.

Imagine that you’re a chef. You slave all day in a kitchen, trying to make sure that your restaurant continues to rock customers’ socks off. Now here comes this massive change in marketing, in business planning, in business management, in communications, etc. The only way you are going to be able to weather this change and remain competitive is to staff up on key strategic positions that will advise your tactical roles on how to best do their jobs.

The dishwasher, for example, is probably very inefficient. I know this, because I helped design the first water-conserving high efficiency pre-rinse spray valve for restaurants. (It’s true. Look it up.) Needless to say, I spent a lot of time in commercial kitchens, studying dish-washing, so I know how inefficient dish-washing stations can be. Based on this new paradigm of strategic strategery, if you don’t hire a dish-washing strategist to bring order to the back of your kitchen, your dish-washing operation will continue to hurt your overall business by spraying water all over the place and letting dishes pile up. It’s a given. Don’t believe me? Perform an audit. For $35,000 and change, the report will back up what I just told you.

Back to our example: Ever noticed how waiters come and go a lot? How they aren’t always super dependable? How the level of service and professionalism they deliver to your customers isn’t consistent? Here’s why: You don’t have a waitstaff strategy. Why? Because you don’t have a waitstaff strategist. Why? Because you don’t have someone working for you can anticipate these types of strategic needs. Enter the Strategy Strategist. I have heard them called Strategy Czars, but depending on what part of the country you are in, that terminology might not be in style at the moment, so Strategy Strategist it is.

“That’s great if you’re a restaurant,” I hear you cry, “but what about if you’re another kind of business? Like… a plumber?” Answer: Same thing. A Strategy Strategist can help a plumbing contractor create a toilet strategy, a plunger strategy, a scrubber strategy, etc.  No matter what your business is, small or large, B2B or B2C, your best bet to start 2011 with a bang is to hire a Strategy Strategist to help you identify what strategies – beyond content strategy, engagement strategy, traffic strategy and Twitter Follower Maximization Strategy – will give your business the extra edge it deserves.

Why this works:

The problem with the business world today is obvious: Too many roles are tactical instead  of being strategic. (How boring is that?) Too many soldiers, and not enough generals, in other words. All these people spending all day doing stuff, managing, responding and executing instead of strategizing. Is that really the most effective use of their time? How do we know that that what they are doing is even important? or that when they do it, they are doing it right? For all we know, 99% of workers (none of whom are in strategic positions) might be producing complete nonsense all day long.

I hadn’t realized that this was a possibility until I brought up the Content Strategy thing last week, but the ensuing conversations opened my eyes. I had no idea that so many copywriters, editors, designers, brand managers, product managers, project managers, webmasters, Marketing Managers, CMOs, PR professionals, internet marketing professionals and other communications professionals were so incapable of doing their jobs without a Content Strategist looking over their shoulders and guiding them through their day.

Scott Abel, a content strategist since 2002 kindly wrote this comment several days ago:

There are entire conferences dedicated to this subject matter, including, Intelligent Content 2011, which serves to help organizations deliver the right content to the right people in the right language (and in the right context) at the right time in the right format and on the device of their choosing. It takes some strategy to make this all happen — fully, orchestrated, as it were.

Until content strategists came along, nobody could figure out how to do this. Heck, most of us thought this kind of stuff was tactical. We had no idea any of it was strategic until content strategists came along and set us straight.

Here is a little secret that this new breed of Specialized Strategists (not traditional strategists like military generals, Business and Marketing Strategists or even Communications Strategists) have been sharing with me with ardent fervor since I wrote my piece on content strategy last week: People in tactical roles (like machine operators, copywriters, line supervisors, web designers, Marketing Directors, etc.) basically can’t find their way out of a paper bag unless a specialized strategist draws them a map first. Even baggers at the grocery store need a bagging strategy. Without it, they would just sit there and stare at empty bags all day, making a mess of things at the checkout. In other words, if a strategist weren’t there to plan, direct and supervise, we might all forget to breathe.

Which is weird, because as someone who works in the business and communications strategy field, I always looked to my tactical and execution folks to guide the way. Even as a military officer, I turned to my NCOs for guidance on a daily basis. All these years, I did it backwards! I should have been the one telling them how to do their jobs all along. (Doh! Why didn’t anyone tell me this sooner?)


The invention of the light bulb


How things got done before these specialized strategists started to take over tactical functions, I have no idea. Fire, the wheel, the light bulb, flying machines… How we invented these things without strategists telling us where to go, what to do and how to do it is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Oh well. Better late than never: Now that specialized strategists are finally taking over the business world, we should start seeing some real results. Judging by the state of the US economy, we could be in for some exciting times ahead. Less funding for execution and more for strategy sounds like a good plan to me.

So do yourselves a favor: Start looking for a Strategy Strategist immediately, and put him/her hard at work developing new strategies for ALL of your tactical functions. If by January 1, 2011 you don’t have a mail room strategy, a cafeteria strategy, a lobby strategy, a post-it note strategy, a cubicle decoration strategy, an email signature strategy, a bulb replacement strategy, a janitorial strategy and a Starbucks-before-getting-to-work strategy, you are already starting the year with a serious handicap.

Remember, success in this field isn’t about what you do. It’s about what you say you will do! Let accountability be someone else’s problem. (The strategy is never wrong. When something fails, it is always at the tactical level. That is because strategists are as smart as elephants on red Bull, and everyone else is just lucky to be there.) What a gig.

The best way to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of next year’s key strategies: Hire a Strategy Strategist asap. (Tip: Make sure it says that on their resume, or you might not be talking to a really real one.) You will be glad you did, and a whole new vibrant industry will thank you for it.

Bonus: When someone asks you a trick question at a conference like “what’s your sandwich strategy?” you will finally be able to answer it properly.

You know you like me better this way.