Engage: Under pressure to hit the stringent and transparent targets demanded by shareholders, businesses across sectors are sacrificing long term goals in favour of short-term victories. This is the view which is increasingly being recognised both within the media and also increasingly by senior industry experts.
A recent article in Marketing Week raised the opinion that now more than ever marketers are having to carefully navigate between twin focuses. Sacrificing short term targets in favour of long term ambitions can be harmful to investor confidence, while the reverse will ensure a lack of business direction. The article gives some notable examples of â€˜best practice' businesses who are bucking the trend in this respect, rejecting the pull of quarterly targets to forge a new a sustainable future.
But "short-termism" does not need to simply refer to hitting targets. Short-termism also covers the need to engage with customers, potential and current, in real time. With a purely long-term strategy businesses miss the opportunity of instantaneous engagement because their mentality is focused 12-24 months down the road and not in the here and now.
This is very much the view of David Meerman Scott, who in a recent interview told me that a predominantly long term focus was one the reasons that many businesses are not engaging effectively with their customer base.
What seems essential is that business executives recognise the equal importance both of CSR (well worth checking out the work of Tomorrow's Company on this front) and of real time interaction. These do not have to be autonomous business functions, a digital strategy can be made part of a long-term sustainability plan just as the values of CSR can be extolled in real time to customers.
If short-termism means a blinkered focus on targets then businesses are sure to fail. But if we expand this to mean a commitment to instant customer interaction, and is coupled with a sustainable, long-term, CSR plan, then businesses will be well-equipped both for the future and the present.
To read more about David Meerman Scott's views on the path to business success in the digital world, follow the link here.