There is a required critical mass in terms of marketing. Sometimes it’s actually better to do nothing as opposed to underfunding an effort. In this conversation underfunding could mean not having enough money but it could just as easily mean not being willing to commit the time, the focus or have the discipline to honoring a schedule.
I get that this is counter-intuitive. Surely it’s better to do something rather than nothing, right? Actually, if what you’re going to accomplish is simply diminishing your resources and not really moving the needle – why bother?
Just to be clear – I am not saying that no marketing is ever a wise choice. Just that you need to be realistic about your resources and allocate them wisely.
Here are some signs that should indicate to you that maybe you’d be better off just putting the money back in your pocket and/or the time back into your day.
If you can’t sustain the effort: Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. I don’t care how compelling your offer is, how fascinating your story is or how awesome your product/service is – marketing takes time. You can’t speed up the process of when a prospect actually needs what you sell. Sure – you can trigger an earlier purchase with a killer discount or some other enticement, but until they have decided to buy, the ball remains in their court.
Add to that the amount of marketing noise out there. It takes a while to break through the clutter. All of that adds up to the reality – if you can’t sustain something for a minimum of six months, don’t bother doing it. That doesn’t mean every marketing tactic requires a six+ month investment of time or money. But it does mean you need to be ready to make that level of commitment, just in case. If you run out of time or money short of the finish line, you’ve basically wasted that resource and not reaped any of the rewards you might have enjoyed if you could have stuck it out a few more months.
If you’re desperate: I’ve rarely seen any company make a good marketing decision when their back was against the wall. Desperation typically leads to a herky-jerky series of attempts – none of which are well thought out, executed in the best way or left in place long enough to be effective.
Prospects can smell desperation and it’s off-putting, to say the least. If you’re desperate, odds are you’ve taken your eye off the marketing ball because you’ve been so busy servicing clients or developing a new offering and now, your pipeline is dry. Sadly, there is no short fix to that other than to learn your lesson and make marketing a daily activity – even on the busiest of days so the pipeline always has some flow.
If you’re just going to talk about yourself: Until you get it through your head that marketing should always be about, for and in the voice of the consumer, you might as well not waste your money or time. They only care about us in the context of their work or their life. If you can’t frame your marketing to help them understand how you can enhance some aspect of their world, don’t bother.
That’s not to say you never mention what it is you sell. But marketing is about gaining their interest and their trust. That’s accomplished through being helpful, not through selling. They’ll let you know when they’re ready to shift the conversation to sales.
Marketing is something you should do every day but that doesn’t mean every possible tactic is a good choice. Watch for these red flags to avoid spinning your wheels for nothing.