“It didn’t work”… says our client, less than one month after implementing a new strategy. Cue our internal *facepalm* (but external smile and nod!) and a few deep breaths before we jump into our usual response to that comment.
Repeat after me folks, “marketing is a process, not an event.” Seriously, say it out loud. Maybe call our office and leave us a voicemail so we know you really did it!
We get it. Investing in a marketing campaign isn’t inexpensive and when so much goes into strategy, design, logistics, and implementation from a time and resource perspective, you want to know you are making an impact. But the problem with expecting immediate results, aside from the fact that that’s not the way most marketing plans are even designed to function, is that it usually results in more headache and sunk time in the long run. This is a common mistake we see business leaders make all the time: when they are quick to make a judgement about whether a marketing campaign is working, they end up on a long, costly path of flip flopping from campaign to campaign, platform to platform, and message to message, spending way more than they need to because they think each approach just ‘isn’t working.’
Consistency, repetition, reputation
A week or so ago, an article titled How to Turn a Failing Marketing Campaign on its Head was circulating around our office. In the final few paragraphs, you find the core message: “The key to building a successful scalable marketing process? Just stick with it!” *insert slow clap here*
To be clear, we don’t endorse blindly following a failing marketing campaign in the hopes that eventually it will work. But marketing is as much about consistency, repetition, and reputation as it is about exposure. And all of that requires time. You can’t just write one blog, run one ad, or send one email and expect everything to fall into place.
Consumers have all kinds of resources at their disposal to research a brand before they act. Not only that, but the same channels that make it easy for them to read reviews, look up photos, or find out the full employment and personal history of the owner, are also probably hitting them with ads or content from ten other related brands. Their options and access to information quite literally never end.
As a business owner, the only reliable way to cut through all this chaos is consistency. Because of this market saturation, the key is building brand recognition over time so that when a need for your product or service arises, you’ll be the first one they think of.
Waiting patiently but observing closely
“Okay yeah great idea. Let me just take all this extra cash I have and throw it at a marketing campaign that may or may not actually be working all in the name of patience.”
We hear you. But you didn’t let us finish our point!
While you’re sitting around twiddling your thumbs with all this patience, you (or us – hopefully us…) you should be looking, listening, watching. Figuratively of course.
We never recommend methods that don’t provide data on how the public is, or is not, engaging. From web traffic to clicks to impressions, there’s always some way to tell whether or not the public is interested. And interest is, after all, the first step of developing a relationship between brand and consumer.
To give you a sense of what this data can tell us
Maybe you think it’s ‘not working’ because online sales haven’t gone up, but we see increased traffic to the webpage and time on site metrics. This might mean the website needs to be tweaked to compel consumers to act.
Maybe people aren’t reaching out for consultations, but they’re opening all your emails and reading your new blog content the moment you send it out. This suggests that they see you as a resource and trust in your knowledge, but might not be ready to act yet.
Maybe, if you work in an industry that people interact with less frequently, it’ll be months or even years before they need to buy a home, hire a lawyer, or engage with an accountant. But when they do, you’ll be the one good resource that comes to mind, and in the meantime, they might be referring you to friends or family.
Don’t get me wrong, you should make small tweaks as you go, but any new campaign needs time to resonate. At least until you have a full picture. One month’s worth of data and the anecdotal evidence you’ve collected from one or two clients isn’t enough to decide if the marketing campaign is working.
You need data collected over time and from each cog of the system. Then and only then will you be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not you should change strategies or stay the course.