Give Time Time

No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.

Warren Buffet
Florence Griffith Joyner – Seoul, South Korea

Even an Olympic sprinter doesn’t win the race in one go. She got into the games through years of long-term discipline, training and competition.

On more than one occasion I have been asked by a business concern to produce results quickly. This usually comes at a time when the business has done very little marketing on its own and is starting to struggle. If the business is bootstrapped and has no other sources of funding, I’ll usually have a heart-to-heart with the owners/founders in which I tell them that hiring me will only hasten their demise. I simply can’t produce results quickly and cheaply enough to pull them out of their nosedive.

However, I will attempt to coach them through a DIY effort until they’re generating enough revenue to justify my services. Then I can help take them to the next level.

The fact of the matter is that all marketing, not just digital marketing, requires building a replicable model that you repeat cyclically over time. One mailing won’t do it. Three social media posts won’t do it. Your business plan must include a budget for consistently sending and posting every month, every week, or every day, depending on what your business calls for. Don’t bet your entire advertising budget on one big turn of the roulette wheel. It needs to be paid out over time. Then, as people get used to hearing from you, your brand starts to bubble top of mind when they need your good or service.

Think of anything you were ever successful doing. Founding your business. Graduating college. Lettering in a sport. None of it happened overnight, did it? However, when it comes to marketing, it’s bizarre how many people hire a marketer by saying, “We’ll only need you for a few weeks or months.” Really? Then what? Is there a plan to take the services in-house, or transition to a bigger agency? It’s all too common to try to sell the unsold in marketing bursts. However, it’s usually not an effective strategy.

Whenever I’m building a DIY marketing strategy for a small business, I consider their resources and marketing capacity. I don’t suggest a 5,000-word article per week if they only have time to write 500. I don’t prescribe a $2,000/month advertising budget if they only have a few hundred to spare. What I recommend is that they make the most of the time and money that they do have. Then I help create a forecast to increase their effort at certain milestones as the business grows.

It seems like such a simple concept, but I’ve seen even larger, more established, sophisticated businesses make the mistake of haphazard marketing. It’s no wonder, given that quarterly results seem to be a driving force in so many companies.

Damon Brown made a wonderful case for the hundred-year plan back in 2017 in Inc. magazine. Basically, he advocated crafting a plan far enough into the future that you wouldn’t be around to execute it. He points out that this has a way of focusing your company’s mission. It helps mitigate short term challenges. It also serves to frame the company’s purpose. Is it for one’s own personal wealth, or is it for the greater good? Marketing tip: the latter seems to be the more attractive value proposition.

So, whether you’re just launching a brand new business in your garage, or are have been listed on a stock exchange for decades, consider whether or not you’re marketing for the long-haul or only for the quick bump. Seeing a spike in sales is fun, but it won’t sustain a business.

Stay in it to win it.

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