Marketing In The Moment – A 3-Part Series
This week I plan to briefly discuss marketing. Today we start things off with monitoring your marketing. Wednesday we’ll talk about measuring your marketing and on Friday we’ll discuss multiplying your marketing.
By monitoring I mean you take a good, hard look at your marketing. So many of us are stuck doing what we’ve always done even though it may have stopped working many years ago. We just keep doing it because it’s all we know to do. And perhaps we think doing something different is beyond us.
One business owner told me years ago – during a conversation about leveraging the power of an online presence – “You might as well try to teach me to fly the space shuttle.” That sentiment is too prevalent, especially among traditional, non-hi-tech business owners.
I can understand how business owners in their 50’s or older may be intimidated, but that’s no excuse – or reason – to avoid marketing in the moment. Romanticizing what once worked is futile. The past isn’t coming back. It’s over. Time to move on and figure out what we need to do today. THAT is precisely why I’m starting this little series on monitoring or taking a closer look at what you’re currently doing.
The hard part of monitoring is seeing things as they really are. Blind spots galore surround marketing efforts. Lots of marketing challenges stymie us: 1) marketing people who have an agenda to do something other than drive business growth, 2) false belief in efforts that haven’t worked in a long time will eventually return to their former glory, 3) failing to realize (or remember) what the marketing efforts are supposed to accomplish, 4) believing that doing what we know to do is better than doing nothing (or better said, believing that there’s no other option – like learning something new), 5) failing to believe that learning and implementing a new strategy will help us and 6) a million other excuses (or reasons).
Step 1 – Forget yesterday. It’s over. Market for today while keeping an eye on tomorrow.
About twice a year I go out my front door and there on the porch is a big fat paperbound book. It’s 2 to 3 inches thick and wrapped in plastic. It’s one of those 3rd party phone books that some marketing outfit convinces poor stupid business owners to advertise in. I pick it up and immediately toss it into our recycle bin. I’d bet 99% of the people who get these throw them away. The other 1% are just keeping it to look at the ad they bought.
Things that once worked – and perhaps worked well – stop working. Things change. Technology has altered our lives forever. And it’s going to keep changing things. Twenty years ago I recall hearing Steve Jobs talk about how voice was going to be the future. I didn’t understand that. Nobody I knew understood that. But with Siri, Alexa and all the other voice-activated tech that now surrounds us — I get it. Voice is faster. While driving my car I can tell Siri to text my wife, then I can dictate the message and say, “Send.” Done. My phone never left the cradle while I kept my hands on the steering wheel.
The things we could do in the past to get people’s attention – those things don’t work any more. Newspaper ads. Billboards. Yellow Pages.
My son started a home inspection business last year. I advised him to do two things, knowing that dazzling the client wasn’t anything I had to teach him (he learned that when he was just a kid). One, use your iPhone and record short videos of some interesting things that can help homeowners, real estate agents, and potential clients. Two, encourage clients to leave you a 5-star social media review. He’s done both and mostly he’s got all the business he can handle. By the way, you’ll notice that the two things I told him to cost no money. They require some time and effort, but they’re not capital intensive, which is super important when you’re starting out. That’s marketing for today! Easier to do when you’re in your 30s perhaps and you’re starting a new business. But doable no matter who you are.
Step 2 – Learn it. You can. You must.
Shut up telling yourself that you can’t learn anything new. Rubbish.
Do you have to become a world-class expert? No. My son is not a world-class expert at social media marketing, videography or any other marketing strategy. He’s world-class at dazzling the clients. He’s also learned enough to execute the marketing that will drive business. And he’d rather invest in learning than spend money at marketing that may not provide any return. So should you.
You have to teach yourself or get somebody to teach you enough. Failure to learn up-to-date, modern marketing will result in hurting you and your business. You must know enough so you can figure out if it’s a smart strategy or not. No way to do that if you’re completely ignorant about it.
I’ve invested hours and hours learning how to do many things that aren’t necessarily right up my alley. In 1997 I figured out a way to put an audio file online. One thing led to another and by the early 2000s I was putting audio online regularly. Here I am today podcasting – something I’ve been doing for at least 15 years. I still couldn’t pilot the space shuttle (if we had one), but I can do many other things because I made it my business to learn how.
Step 3 – Be fearless to test. Be fearless to fail, but be even more fearless to stop failing. Be agnostic.
New technology is changing faster than ever. We don’t have to keep up with the details of every new platform. Just last week word came out that Jimmy Wales, the brainiac behind Wikipedia is starting a community platform to compete with Facebook. Supposedly it’ll have the privacy and security he thinks people crave. I don’t know if it’ll be an opportunity for you or not. But it doesn’t hurt to know it’s out there or coming. I’m not fearful of it. I’m not anxious about it. I don’t care one way or the other, but if it turns out it may be effective to drive business – then I’ll invest time in learning more.
Because you don’t know until you try. Advertising (spending money) on social media platforms may be worthwhile. Or not.
Producing videos for YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin may not be worth it, but my son was willing to try it. He quickly found it worked. For him. He’s pretty good at figuring out what the content should be. He’s pretty good in front of the camera, too. You might be a major stick in the mud with zero personality. Even so, you could test it and figure out if it produces any results or not (on Wednesday we’ll talk a bit about measuring marketing). Do not be afraid to try something.
This doesn’t mean you invest gobs of money or time. It does mean you give it a fighting chance though. You can figure that out on your own. If it fails, then stop doing it. At least, stop doing it THAT particular way.
Testing means you work to figure it out. My son figured out what people like in his videos. Just like he figured out what really dazzles his clients. He’s not sitting on his hands continuing to do things the same way. He’s constantly iterating, adjusting and improving. You have to do the same thing.
Be agnostic about the strategy, tactic or medium. Nobody cares. Care more about what it takes to get the attention of the prospect. You need greater visibility. Who cares where that is? Who care what you need to do to get it? That’s the part that’s always changing. Commit yourself to change with it so you’re always marketing in the moment.
Be well. Do good. Grow great.