Coin a phrase: The Straddle

This is a thought in progress, but it’s coming together. At the very least, as with blogtailing, I think I’ve coined a phrase. Here goes.

Marketing today is a straddle between the online world and the offline world. Only those who do the straddle right will survive. Err too far online, you fail. Too fair offline, you fail. What I think justifies this post’s existence is that no one (that I’m aware of) is really (yet) talking about the straddle.

Doesn’t mean people aren’t doing it.

For instance, I’ve blogged frequently about how artists like REM are leveraging the tech by using wonderfully articulated social media marketing strategies to allow their constituents to engage in participatory marketing. However, I didn’t emphasize enough in these posts that it was the straddle that really allows REM to leverage the tech. That is, it’s their interplay between their offline world (touring) and their online world that allows them to be successful.

Similarly, another person I’ve written about frequently who is doing the straddle well is Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk. Certainly his use of tech is about as good as it gets, but what makes it work is his commitment to offline activities (wine tastings, appearances, etc.). It is wine that he’s talking about, for goodness sakes; you sort of have to have an offline presence.

Another example: I believe that the reason Facebook is just crushing MySpace (random sample of the hundred or so students I teach: Q. How many use Myspace? A: None; Q. How many use Facebook? A: All) is because Facebook helps them do the straddle (sounds like a dance); while MySpace is a closed online only experience.

Think about it: Facebook works because it allows you to enhance and augment your offline experiences. You post photos of things you do with your friends; you write on each others’ walls regarding offline experiences.

MySpace is more of (and I use this word in the loosest possible manner) a portfolio (or, what I really believe it’s become, for bands at least: a demo). MySpace has nothing to do with your offline life; it’s only related to your online life, and, thus, falls short.

Musicians and others too often feel that the new tech allows them to forgo what is really important: building real connections via playing live. I.e. they emphasize the online and forget about the offline. It makes sense. These online tools are so easy, and they give the illusion of progress and (sometimes) accomplishment. However, this indeed is illusory. Without leveraging whatever you, perhaps, built online in order to grow your offline presence (and vice versa), you will fail.

This holds true across the board. Businesses, authors…whomever…must do the straddle. If you’re a real estate agent, why would you not be tweeting up a storm, Facebook-ing up a storm, blogging up a storm, so that when you have an open-house for one of your listings you can connect with your online constituency in an offline manner. If you’re a restaurant who isn’t tweeting out your specials (and I don’t know ONE restaurant who is), and even perhaps creating events/menus for your online peeps so that you can then have the offline experience with them, it seems to me you’re missing something.

I want more than anything to have some 9GS offline experiences with those who read the blog/follow my tweets. Sadly, so far the only thing I can currently come up with is to tweet out to those who follow me to come over to the house and shoot pool and drink tequila with me. This would, of course, result in me being fired and divorced, so I will keep thinking.

The rest of you, I look forward to your straddles.

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  1. Marie-The Snake Charmers’s avatar

    I have connected in a lot of different ways offline with people through an online presence. And no, none was a love connection, although if my marital status altered, I would go that route too.

    The problem I have run into as a musician is getting that offline presence. It’s increasing difficult to book live performances. In the past 18 months, 5 times our band has been either the last band to play or cancelled from club dates.

    It’s not easy to get people offline and into live music venues. There is a definite decline in local music venue attendance for certain population subsets. How to get people off the computers and out the door for a 20-30 minute drive? That’s one of the dilemmas.

    Reply

  2. RyanMoede’s avatar

    Kudos on a thoughtful post. Social media is certainly at its best when it is fostering real-world relationships. And brands that use social media well are often playing the role of facilitator – bring people together through online and offline experiences (eg Nike Plus).

    Reply

  3. gah650’s avatar

    Right on, thanks! Great point about Nike Plus.

    George

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  4. seotest’s avatar

    thanks for sharing me those nice thought of you

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  5. Braden Piper’s avatar

    I will gladly share the offline experience of shooting pool and drinking tequila at your house, Howard. If you think of something more fun, let me know.

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  9. Preston Ely’s avatar

    I agree with you . You got to be connected with both world.

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  13. carlalynnehall’s avatar

    Hi George!

    When I recently participated in the Artists House live chat, John Snyder and Andrew Goodrich mentioned your concept of “The Straddle”, which I had to ask about because it sounded so interesting. When they explained it fully, I realized that you're absolutely right!!!! In fact, BRILLIANT!!! I think that “The Straddle” is something that some self-promoters already do, even if they're not conscious about it. It's basically getting out and about to meet the folks you're meeting online.

    First things first, you gotta leave the house! Gary Vaynerchuk seems to attend every social media conference known to man, in addition to wine tastings and other events. In plain talk, he's simply networking online AND offline. In a recent interview, Gary recommends that people attend events and conferences within their niche because (I'm paraphrasing) everything happens because of the involvement of other people, and we have to go out and meet them so they know who we are.

    In an organization like Artists House, doing the straddle would mean that you, John, and Andrew get out as well, to shake hands and kiss babies at every music conference you can afford to attend. It also means making in-person connections with bands and musicians in New Orleans. Artists House can also offer musician workshops. I've seen the live chats done from your home, and you could probably host musicians there to teach them about creating viral videos, or something else useful. Of course, you could also videotape that workshop and sell it later as a DVD, but that's another blog post! 😉

    As Andrew has been in the Twitter trenches (working hard to attract over 10K followers for @ArtistsHouse), I also suggest that he step forward a bit more as the “Milennnial Generation” face of Artists House. When there are local music seminars and/or performances in NOLA, put Andrew to use and send him out to those late night shows. Both you and John Snyder also have your particular tribes, and events that you attend, so those are ways that you're already straddling.

    And remember that you can also create low key events for people to meet up too. For example, I'm organizing a bowling tweet up later this month at a local bowling alley that celebrates “Twitter Tuesdays” and offers discounts for bowlers who twitter. I'll happily tweet about anyone who shows up that night, and they'll probably tweet about me and the bowling alley too.

    As you've mentioned, online tools do give the illusion of progress, but ultimately, the people who leave their home to attend your events, visit your trade show booth, and/or offer up their email address are much more engaged, as well as invested in what you have to offer online and off.

    So that's my two pennies. Hope it helps!

    Carla
    _____________
    Carla Lynne Hall
    Musician & Music Marketing Consultant
    http://RockStarLifeLessons.com

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    awesome post! i agree with all the things that you said on your blog.. and yes we should also have some offline experiences so we can enjoy life more.

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    It all makes sense. The Straddle keenly applies to marketing, and emphasizes on the various elements concerned with its success. Brilliant!

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  20. Hampers’s avatar

    Still nothing can beat the essence of dealing with your customers “personally”. The magic of personal touch is really a big issue if you want to stay in your business no matter the circumstances. Tweeting is already one way of keeping in touch “virtually” but be sure to say the truth and also follow those who followed you.

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    I believe that the reason Facebook is just crushing MySpace (random sample of the hundred or so students I teach

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  24. Conveyancing’s avatar

    Think about it: Facebook works because it allows you to enhance and augment your offline experiences. You post photos of things you do with your friends; you write on each others’ walls regarding offline experiences.

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  25. Designer Sunglasses’s avatar

    Social media really done great job in the internet.. they really dominate…
    Your not a human when you have no facebook, twitter etc..

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    How to make people follow my tweets any suggestion? By submitting rss feeds to various blogs i got many readers.

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    Look forward to reading more of your work.

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    Your spot on and you display your comments relevancy with your examples. The real estate example is spot on and shows exactly why you someone needs to straddle both worlds effectively

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    What changed things so much is how people are using the web to facilitate social interaction. Social proof has always been one of the most effective marketing angles and the web allows people to share ideas so quickly and easily.

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  39. Matrimony’s avatar

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  40. Reglan’s avatar

    I envisioned myself in some far-off cafe with a group of travelers from distant corners of the world. Without warning, someone in Romania, presumably our host, started repeating “hello, hello, hello” at 4-second intervals which a severe echo.

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  41. diy solar power’s avatar

    I think you've got something there – you are so right and yet traditional companies are still being a bit slow to 'straddle' both worlds – in a recession there is a chance to really use web 2.0 to leverage and compliment their offline business – v interesting post!

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  42. Tibet Travel’s avatar

    Nice post and oh so true. Remember my army days when I was based In Heidelberg. Great time there..

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