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What Is Shiny Object Syndrome & Can You Overcome It?

Do you struggle with shiny object syndrome?

Like a magpie drawn to shiny objects, you’re easily attracted and distracted by every new and exciting marketing opportunity.

You’d be crazy not to join TikTok. With over 2,5 billion in consumer spending in 2021, it’s a no-brainer. Right?  

  • SEO – gotta have it. 
  • LinkedIn – why not.
  • Podcasting – never hurts. 
  • PPC – sounds like a plan.

But everyone knows that success requires focused attention. When you get caught up with each new fad and shiny object you lose your focus and become overwhelmed. And overwhelm leads to paralysis by analysis and inaction.

Or worse, mediocrity.

So what’s the answer?

The simple answer is you need to unplug and get back to basics. But first, let’s look at what is shiny object syndrome?

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    What Is Shiny Object Syndrome?

    Let me ask you this, are you easily dazzled by new trends and media opportunities? Do you pride yourself on being the first to adopt a new digital tactic? Or do you tend to add to your digital marketing arsenal because some ‘expert’ said you should? That’s shiny object syndrome. 

    It’s chasing the next big tactic, trend or ‘shiny object’ in online marketing without questioning why. 

    • Why would this be good for your business?
    • Is it going to help you reach your customers more effectively?
    • Are your customers even active on these digital outlets?

    Sadly, it happens to good business owners worldwide. Every day a startup, entrepreneur or small business owner makes the mistake of signing up for another shiny object. 

    First, it was Facebook, then Twitter. Nowadays, its Instagram and TikTok. 

    You don’t need to be active on every digital platform. It won’t help you remain relevant. It’ll just cost you time and money better spent elsewhere.

    How To Know You Suffer From Shiny Object Syndrome

    So what are the signs that you might be addicted to chasing shiny objects? 

    1. You’ve got hundreds of business ideas, many of which you’re trying to launch simultaneously. 
    2. You get excited by chasing a new project without seeing it to completion. I’m particularly bad at this. It’s why I hired a team. They’ll look at the viability of an idea before hitting play. 
    3. You’re always chasing the next tactic or next course, next guru.
    4. You never stop to check and see if your next business project (shiny object) fits your strategy.

    Here’s how to stop chasing shiny objects. 

    How To Overcome Shiny Object Syndrome

    How do you stop the madness? Overcoming shiny object syndrome comes down to knowing your target audience. It’s not about being able to rattle off their age, location, and how many kids they have.

    It’s knowing their habits, which social media channels they’re active on, and what influences their purchasing decisions.

    For example, we’ve been plugging away at Instagram for a little over 18 months now with very little success. So we did an experiment. We sent my subscriber list an email promoting my Facebook page and one promoting the Instagram one. 

    Facebook received over 1,000 new followers from that email. Instagram got less than 150. So I know I’m wasting my time posting on Instagram.

    So before trying to be the first to utilize a new platform think about this: 

    • What is the goal? Why am I investing time into this platform?
    • What am I employing it to do? 
    • Who am I trying to attract? 
    • What is my message? 
    • What do I want to get out of my followers? 

    Often it comes down to time management. Unless you have a team, as entrepreneurs, you don’t have time to be active on or create unique content for the different platforms. And you’re certainly not going to thrive.

    Here’s what I suggest you do instead:

    Step 1: Do Your Research

    Speak to your customers. This could be a survey, via email or jumping on to your helpdesk. Ask if they’re active on a particular social media channel. 

    Step 2: Check out your competitors

    If they’re doing well and aren’t using a particular marketing tactic, chances are you shouldn’t either.

    Step 3: Establish KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIS) Upfront

    What numbers do you need to track? Then monitor the performance of these media. Use Google Analytics to track where your leads are coming from. You’ll quickly see if what you’re doing is working. 

    But remember, if you haven’t mapped out your marketing plan, you won’t get the results you want or need. That’s how you overcome shiny object syndrome.


    As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to look at a competitor’s business which is thriving and blame your town or industry for your lack of success.

    The grass on the other side seems greener and it’s seductive. But is it?

    If there is anyone else in your town, industry or type of business that is doing well, it’s unlikely that moving to greener pastures will solve your problems. 

    You are most likely the problem.

    Russell Conwell’s classic speech Acres of Diamonds includes the anecdote of a man who wanted to find diamonds so badly that he sold his property and went off in a futile search for them. Meanwhile, the new owner of his home discovered that a rich diamond mine was located right there on the property that he had sold.

    The message being “dig in your own backyard”. You have a home advantage. You know the terrain, you know what works and what doesn’t. You have contacts and know how.

    You don’t need to travel to a “distant land” to be successful. Chances are if you haven’t had success in your own “backyard”, you’ll only replicate the same results elsewhere. 

    And you’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs experience shiny object syndrome chasing. So they chase shiny objects time and time again hoping for high rewards. 

    The truth is, you can have the best talent and the right motivation, but if your business audience isn’t mining a particular media (shiny object), your marketing will always fail.

    How To Thrive

    According to a quote by Anthony Greenbank in The Book of Survival,

    “To live through an impossible situation, you don’t need the reflexes of a Grand Prix driver, the muscles of a Hercules, or the mind of an Einstein. You simply need to know what to do.”

    Knowing what to do will eliminate 99% of your procrastination.

    Procrastination is not laziness. I know for a fact that some of the most hardworking people suffer from procrastination.

    Many times procrastination is a problem associated with not having a clear idea of what to do next. When you’re not clear on exactly what to do next and how to do it, your brain turns to mush and procrastination ensues.

    Procrastination is your brain’s way of giving you something you know how to do as substitute, e.g., check your email, comment on Facebook, have a coffee etc.

    I know of only one way to achieve anything:

    1. Learn
    2. Do

    Complex stuff eh?

    Here’s the thing. You’ll never achieve what you want to do perfectly on the first go. If by some miracle you do, it’s just pure luck. Just as learning to ride a bike involves falling and losing balance a few times, so does achieving anything worthwhile.

    Waiting until it’s all perfect or until you have all the information is a losing strategy. Remember 80% out the door is better than 100% in the drawer.

    Strategy vs Shiny Object

    A strategy is a principle, it’s simple and timeless. A shiny object is a technique or tactic. It’s subject to constant change.

    As entrepreneurs, you want to learn principles first and then add techniques.

    Techniques are the place that most shiny new objects and distractions come from. While it’s true you do need techniques to accomplish your goals, if you first haven’t learned the principles, the techniques will only distract you.

    Take selling as an example. You can use the Internet, social media, mobile marketing, etc. to sell your products – these are all modern techniques.

    However, the reasons people buy are the same as they were two thousand years ago and will be the same in two thousand years from now. These are principles that are timeless.

    If you start with techniques, you’ll waste a lot of time and money and get distracted as the next new thing comes along.

    Getting back to basics, truly understanding where you’re going and why you’re going there is the key to clarity and getting unstuck.

    If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy our article, “What is Direct Response Marketing?” As a small business owner, it’s the smarter way to market your business. 

    Don’t forget to share it on social media.


    Then you need to market it. But not just any marketing will do. In my new 1-Page Marketing Plan Course I show you the exact techniques I've used to start, grow, and exit several multi-million dollar businesses, so you can too.

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