Early in my career, someone said to me “If your marketing isn’t working, it’s because you haven’t stuck with it for long enough”. I never really understood the value of that comment until I was in charge of my own company’s full-time marketing and started collating the data on how people come through our sales funnel.
We practice what we preach at The Design Mechanics. In fact, we use our own marketing somewhat like a laboratory – trying out new ideas and strategies on ourselves first and then taking the ones that give the best results and working them into our customers’ marketing strategies. The guides we publish, the bootcamps we run, the articles we write and events we speak at are all part of an ongoing strategy to move our company from point A to point B, but sustaining our activity over a prolonged period is most vital.
There are five reasons why people won’t buy from you: No need, no money, no desire, no trust or no rush.
‘Commitment’ is doing the thing you said you would do, long after the mood you said it in has passed. New ideas are exciting; implementing them and sticking with them for months and years afterwards isn’t. Our weekly Marketing Toolbox email has been the backbone of our marketing strategy for the last few years, but its place in our sales funnel didn’t become clear until we had been running it for more than twelve months. For example, new business can come to us from a customer we first met several years ago, and only now has the time been right for our two companies to do business. That conversation only happened because we’ve been diligent in sustaining our marketing over that time.
No matter how good your strategy, it is implementing and sustaining the day-to-day tactics that will make your strategy a success.
There are five reasons why people won’t buy from you: No need, no money, no desire, no trust or no rush. Sometimes your marketing message will land just at the right time, but if the person has never heard of you or isn’t familiar with your company they are not going to engage. If on the other hand, the person already knows about your company and thinks about you with some credibility, then it’s just a matter of time until your marketing message will be relevant to their situation. Your target customers are not sat there waiting to buy from you. If you only sustain your message for a few months and then give up because ‘it wasn’t working’ you will miss the opportunity.
Sustained activity is key to all good marketing activity, and it takes discipline (and some degree of faith!) to achieve. A modest plan implemented well will outperform a great plan implemented badly or not at all.
So how do you achieve it?
Strategy – the further you are travelling, the longer it takes to get there. If you are starting from scratch, or are trying to completely change your company’s position, then prepare an overriding marketing strategy in terms of years, not months.
Sustainability – create a plan that you know is sustainable over the long-term. Part of this plan may be engaging with an agency to do some of the work for you, or bringing in an employee or apprentice to carry out the unglamorous day-to-day of your marketing activity.
Accountability – if someone is holding you to account, you are more likely to keep to plan. This could be a business mentor, a company director or even holding a weekly Monday morning meeting. Someone has to keep the drum beating at your back.
Fluidity – although your strategy may cover a longer period, the tactics you employ can be more fluid. You should have core sustained marketing activities that run like clockwork hand-in-hand in hand with shorter, sharper ‘campaigns’ in response to opportunities.
Review – formally sit down and review your marketing activity every three months so that you can see what has been achieved and what has been missed. Look back at your previous review and compare progress. If activities are not happening, renew your accountability.