There are too many options today. Everything looks exciting online. But this can be detrimental to your success! It’s called the “Shiny Object Syndrome”.

Entrepreneurship needs enhanced research and analysis from the owner of the company.

Especially the people who manage teams, clients, investors, the board of directors while fulfilling his life purpose of developing a product or giving an unparallel contribution to the industry.

Today, one cannot ignore the potential of online marketing and the profit it can generate. An online marketer has to find out the best venue for promoting his business and then stick to it.

He may explore new and updated platforms for his research and try those new marketing channels which he finds promising.

That said if a marketer keeps switching from one idea to another. He might be suffering from shiny object syndrome.

What is Shiny Object Syndrome

In terms of online marketing, this syndrome urges you to use new and fresh online marketing techniques without knowing if you need it. Moreover, after using the services, if the results are not favorable, you switch to other trends without thinking it through, and the cycle keeps rotating.

The digital landscape is an ever-evolving platform as the new technology has been a catalyst in introducing new platforms to the world.

Today, social media is not just Twitter, and Facebook posts and social media marketing only has to do with creating a Facebook page and upload a cover photo.

Today, the concept of promoting your brand online is evolving at a faster rate. That’s when marketers feel, as the millennials of social media say, Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) by not using the new techniques.

Marketers feel that they are not talented or skilled enough if they don’t use the new platform or try the new technique that is going viral at the moment. The job of marketers is to hunt down new terminologies and fresh ways which can skyrocket their market reach.

Their ideal job is to know what can be done and which new updates are coming along the way in the industry of online marketing. It will help them to study their on-going marketing activities and align it with the updating sphere of online marketing to enhance the overall growth.

However, thanks to the Shiny Object Syndrome, marketers have now become restless while trying the new technique without even thinking if it would help their business grow.

Consider an example to know what is shiny object syndrome. Suppose you are the digital marketing lead of a leading technology service based company. For your market, search engine optimization is the lucrative marketing channel to scale your business, and you have been doing well in ranking your website in the search engine result pages.

Now, while your research as a digital marketing lead, you come across new social media marketing channels which others brands are using in favor of their advertising needs. Like, you saw a millennial is using Snapchat to promote his own business and have millions of followers on the platform.

Undoubtedly, Snapchat is an excellent communication channel to reach to individuals and teenagers. Now, since you saw someone using Snapchat and everyone is talking about the same platform, you get the urge of trying the Snapchat technique in your own business and feeling confident that you too would be able to generate the same buzz without brainstorming accurately.

You immediately start uploading snaps and videos in your Snapchat accounts and applying Snapchat’s filters. If the results are not as per your anticipation, you shift to other trending mediums and feel you should try them.

Here, it would help if you thought that your business is different and the new channel might not be a good fit for your marketing activities. It does not mean that if others are making money out of Snapchat marketing, you could do that too.

Your ideal customers might not have installed Snapchat in their lives, and you are wasting your resources to try to generate business through the new Snapchat’s buzz.

Another example is supposed you are doing marketing of an NGO through various social media platforms. You are on the right path of making your business heard to the right prospects through organic and paid social media marketing.

Now, you saw somebody placing their banner advertisement in a news channel website or putting in-stream video advertisement on YouTube. You also saw websites that come at the top of SERP through PPC marketing.

You start using PPC without even consulting your team or properly researching about the potential consequences. Once the PPC does not work you shift to social media, then email marketing, and so on and that’s how shiny object syndrome gets the best of you.

How to Check If You are Affected by Shiny Object Syndrome?

Shiny Object Syndrome is not a mental disease, and it is the psychological urge that makes you take irrelevant and abrupt decisions. If you have shiny object syndrome, below are the scenarios which are relevant to you.

1.  You have an exhaustive list of ideas that want to execute, and the list never stops. Yes, people with shiny object syndrome list-out the different tools and techniques they want to run soon.

Moreover, they keep adding new and fresh things as they come across a new update or the new online marketing channel that is emerging and looking promising.

2. You start a new website but then lost interest in maintaining it. Indeed, in shiny object syndrome, you find a new domain or the original idea prominent, and you purchased the web properties for it like domain, hosting, SSL, etc.

However, after some time, when you realize the actual effort and the hustle it requires, your mind avoids doing them and shift to find newer platforms to try.

3. You instantly felt excited about the new platforms or tools and started making wild guesses about their success in the coming time. I agree that getting excited generates curiosity and gives you the energy to study more about the particular field of study. However, in this scenario, the behavior is not out of curiosity.You have transformed your approaches and become overwhelmingly positive about all the new things coming into the industry.

4. You have tried different ways of online marketing, but none worked. The people with shiny object syndrome have followed their urges and tried and tested the new horizons and trending platforms to promote their business but they haven’t succeeded in it.

5. You have too many tools and resource to manage them effectively. You purchase premium tools, themes, and plugins that you find it lucrative but end up having too many items at your disposal that you find it hard to manage them and productively use them. The collection is kept increasing, but you are not satisfied with all your purchases.

6. You are not able to finish projects on time. Once you start, you tend to shift to other tasks which you think are promising for your work. If something goes opposite to what you had planned, you switched to other functions, and the cycle keeps moving. However, the completion of the vital task is pending in the process because your focus is always diverted.

7. Your team members seem confused and lost while working with you because you might be changing the working habits too frequently and apply unannounced changes to the campaign. The unpredictable change in the direction of the focus ultimately impacts your whole work culture. If this is your case, you might be suffering from shiny object syndrome.

How to Avoid Being in Shiny Object Syndrome?

Before it hits, increase your awareness and observe your psychological rush not to get distracted by anything and focus on your online marketing goals.

Ask if your on-going project requires the new platform although the late arrival of the tool or the software is a great way to increase your online leads or social media outreach. However, ask yourself before buying that do you need a new platform or the tool to improve your online marketing.

Know Who You Are

You need to understand the “why” of your business to make the smart decision and make steady and successful growth. You need to understand what it the purpose of the existence of your business. Does the new platform which you found promising is going to help you to attain your goals?

If yes, you must know the current condition and available bandwidth of time and money to invest in the new platform of online marketing. Ask yourself if you have enough human resources and extra cash to risk and try the new thing?

Set Priority of Achieving Your Goals

You should have a list of goals which drives you every single day in your office hours. Always remind yourself about the remaining targets and plan how can you improve yourself and your company to attain those goals in the coming time. What skill sets and hard work you need to put into completing the list of targets.

That said, you should not keep adding more goals in your list because that way, the length of the list is kept going on and you cannot focus on the achievements that matter. Be as specific and particular as possible while writing your goals.

These goals will the steering wheel of your focus and help you stay organized in your daily routine to achieve them and never get distracted.

Have a Reality Check of Your Business

Reality keeps us grounded and help you make calculative decisions. It enables you to cope with making wild decisions all the time and risk your current circumstances. You need to keep a constant reality check about your assets and liabilities of the company. Try to achieve as many assets as possible.

Now, don’t feel disheartened if the reality is not as you have expected. A reality check is a great way to stay organized and focused on what matters.

The reality check will help you make smart and data-driven decisions and won’t make you reckless by giving you a clear picture of what could happen if you purchase the services or avoid them. Whichever case is helpful to you, and you will automatically make it happen and decide accordingly.

Understand Your Market

Despite all the updates and the new addition of various digital assets, your ideal prospect and their mindset are not going to change. Market research is the foundation of advertising and promotional activities. If you pitch your marketing banners to the wrong candidates, they will not only ignore your ad, but your money will go in vain.

To get the maximum result out of your online marketing activities, you should create the buyer personas and stick with them. It would help if you wrote a brief about your ideal customers. Like,

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Designation
  • Yearly income
  • Routine habits

This will allow you to look for only those channels where such users are spending their time online and avoid redundant channels even if those channels are disrupting the digital landscape.

Your market research will keep your mind open and sharp about optimizing on-going campaigns by including updated tools, technologies, etc. if necessary.

Furthermore, if the new method won’t work for you, you will not switch to other trending channels. Instead, you will work harder and learn from your mistakes because you are confident that this channel can help you elevate your sales in the business.

Your investment decisions will give confirm returns instead of wasting your money on a new channel that gives you zero customer outreach.

Make The Team and Involve Concerned People

Before shifting your focus to new areas of online marketing, you should have face-to-face interactions with your peers about the idea that you have and share your thoughts of why you see that shifting to new updates and technologies might help the project’s online marketing campaigns.

Let them share their views and allow them to give inputs in the final decision. This is a good idea because this way, all the team members are on the same page; they will feel valued and heard by the management and can proactively engage themselves is the changes.


Shiny object syndrome can enlighten your online marketing or destroy your efforts in generating business online. If you can find the cause of your unfocused attitude and cope with the situation, the syndrome has helped you before it has taken you over.

The best way to overcome this is to automate every aspect of your life, and focus on what really matters.

If you had experienced shiny object syndrome in your routine and overcame from it, share your experience in the comments.

If you have to go from the similar phases discussed in this article, share your thought process after reading the article in the comments.

Siddharth Rajsekar aka Sidz is a college drop-out, "musician turned digital geek", a spiritually grounded minimalist, father of 2, and husband of a loving wife. He founded the Internet Lifestyle Hub in 2018 to fix the education and employment system for good. Currently, he is helping over 11,000+ coaches, teachers, and experts digitize their knowledge. He’s an international best-selling author of the book You Can Coach and is on a mission to help 1,000,000 people live a lifestyle of freedom!

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