The Lessons of Pandora’s Box

I am constantly and consciously aware of keeping my business (and those of my coaching clients) simple. As I’ve written before, I even keep a book entitled “Rework” on my desk at all times. The authors remind me of how toxic it can be to try and do more and more and more. Rather, as I wrote in my original “8Steps” book more than a decade ago, it’s generally better to try and do less, but to do it better.
One of the greatest temptations for me personally, is when it’s time to promote an event, either online or live. I try to launch the marketing for those events 4-5 months in advance, but even with that much time, my mind explodes with ideas as to how I get the word out.
Of course there’s e-mail, but how many should I send, and how often, and containing what samples or content? I could create or re-purpose hundreds of columns, special reports, and even books. I’m one of those who doesn’t suffer from writer’s block because of the absence of ideas, but because of far too many ideas!
And what about webinars or free courses? I’ve got dozens of those. Or partnership, especially with those who like social media a bit more than I do? And I always do some direct mail, but should that be formal invitations? Complete brochures? Simple postcards?
And what about premiums or bonuses for early registrations, or the first X number of registrants?
It is literally enough to make my head spin, even after nearly two decades of successfully producing sold-out events.

Turns Out, Pandora’s Box is Worse than I Thought

Which made me think of Pandora’s box. We all know the expression, but I found it fun to go to Wikipedia and make sure I was clear on the origin. Turns out that it’s worse than I thought—Pandora’s box, from Greek mythology, contained “all the evils in the world!” Not just some, but ALL!
As I started to expand on my basic campaign of emails and direct mail, I realized that I was letting some of the “evils” out of Pandora’s box. In the end, they would only:
  • Dilute my focus on the proven methods;
  • Create a never-ending sense of more, more, more…
  • Drive up the “opportunity costs,” that is, other things more valuable that I could be working on
You have that same potential problem when it comes to marketing, and the literally infinite number of ideas you could try.

Pick Just Three Marketing Methods

That’s why I’m adamant that you should pick three, and no more than three, and commit to each of them for at least a year. Tweak it, master it, and benefit from it.
Of course when it comes to Pandora’s Box and an excess of options, marketing is just the beginning. You also have a Pandora’s box for design, and practice management.
Software solutions? A potential Pandora’s box. Drawing tools? A potential Pandora’s box. Accounting, reporting, and management processes? Potential Pandora’s boxes, all…
Of course what I’m describing here, by any other name, is complexity, and I’ll say for the four millionth time, complexity is the killer of your profits. You have to learn to master the few things you can, and let go of the rest. That’s known as a “trade off” to those who have undergone the ActionMaps process.

There’s Only One Thing Left!

By the way, while reviewing my Greek history, I was also reminded that there was one thing left in Pandora’s box after all the evils escaped—hope!

2 thoughts on “The Lessons of Pandora’s Box”

  1. Thanks for the great article. One request for clarification: by selecting three marketing activities does that mean three categories (networking, social media, etc.) or is that specific groups, like the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, etc.?

    1. Very good question, Stephanie. I’m not even sure I’ve thought about it in those terms, but using your language, I would say to try and master three “categories.” So, as you have described, “Personal Networking” (I’m trying to differentiate from social networking) could include all sorts of events like chambers, charities, etc. And, if another of your categories was “Direct Mail,” that could obviously include different formats, targets, offers, etc. Same for publishing, blogging, event marketing, etc. Thanks for the question.

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