What’s One Thing I Can Do Right Now?

I’ve attended, liveblogged and presented at a plethora of marketing and technology conferences in the last year.  After attending enough, you start to notice common trends in questions, presentations and even personalities.  One of the most common, recurring questions asked is:  “what’s one thing I can do right now?”  Or perhaps a variation, “What’s one thing I can start doing today?”

Something never sat right with me about this question, but today it struck me why:   it’s exactly the wrong thing to ask.

It’s the wrong question to ask because….

  • It’s looking for an easy way out
  • You could just as easily Google it
  • It’s seeking a silver bullet
  • It assumes everyone is the same and should start the same way

The answers inevitably suck, because…

  • They will invariably be common
  • Generic questions inspire generic answers
  • Without a full understanding of the current situation you can’t answer it anyway
  • It’s tactical advice at best

What’s the point of doing one thing right now?  What one thing you could you turn around today that will have impact?  Let alone increasing returns?

The question of “what’s one thing I can do right now?” or “what one thing can I do today” is asked by someone who already has the wrong expectations.

It’s a question asked by marketers of a previous generation who want results yesterday.  They want turnkey solutions and a quick fix.  That’s not the answer to any sort of digital marketing or PR that matters, is sustainable or likely to result in greater prosperity.

I actually had a pretty clever answer to that question I was going to end this post with, but that ruins the point of addressing it.

The truth is there is no one thing you can do right now that really matters – that’s just not how the web works.