Is your marketing stuck on autopilot? Dont keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.
Last night, I mopped the kitchen floor after dinner. I put away the mop and pail and went upstairs to do somework. My husband yelled up the stairs, "Why did you leave the light on over the sink?" We have one of those bright fluorescent lights over the sink that you can leave on separately from the overhead light in the kitchen.
I stopped for a moment on the stairs. I said, "I always do when I mop the floor."
"So anyone coming into the kitchen can see that the floor is wet," I said.
"They can turn on the overhead light for that."
Okay. So why was I leaving the light on over the sink?
It took me a few minutes to remember that leaving the light on over the sink after mopping and waxing thekitchen floor was my mothers little signal to the five of us kids that the floor was wet. The basement playroom, where we had our toys, games and television set, could only be reached by crossing the kitchen floor. By leaving the light on in the kitchen of my childhood home, we could see from the living room that she had just washedand waxed the floor. It was our cue to wait. When the light was turned off an hour later, we could run through the kitchen and get back to the serious business of playing.
I thought about my actions with amusement. In mycurrent home, theres no need to leave that light on. But Ido it anyway. Its instinctive. I dont even think about the why of it any more - I just do it automatically.
Sometime we get into ruts like this with our marketingefforts. We just keep doing a marketing activity because it is something thats always been done.
Let me give you a hypothetical situation. Lets assume you are a marketing manager just hired into a company, and you look at the yearly marketing budget and see a huge expenditure on trade shows. The natural question to ask is, "Okay, how much do we make from our trade shows? How many leads do we get?" You speak to the salesmanager who is responsible for having the sales staff workat the trade shows, and he tells you something even more surprising. The company gets few or no leads from the shows.
The trade show booth is in tatters, the sales people say that trade shows never produce leads, and the salesmanager complains that his sales staff are never able tocomplete their regular duties because they were always traveling to and from trade shows or working at trade shows.
After assessing the budget, you realize that if you stopgoing to trade shows, the money you save can be spent on a website upgrade. Updating and enhancing the website supports the companys sales and customer outreach goals.
Its a fight, but you get the company to make the change.Six months later, the new website attracts more customers and gains leads, the sales staff is happy because they can work their usual territories and not travel so much, and you have saved a lot of money on the travel budget.
All of this because you were willing to examine a marketing activity everyone had just assumed was the way things were done...the only way to promote the company and its activities. It was how things were done. At first, trade shows may have worked well. But many years later, this marketing activity no longer serves itspurpose. It doesnt achieve the goals. Yet it had become soestablished as part of "how we market Company XYZ" that previous marketing managers had been unwilling to change.
This imaginary company had gotten into a rut because the "this was how things were done." It was the accepted way. It was what people were comfortable doing. They couldnt stand going to the trade shows and the trade shows werent working for them (they may be the best tactic for you, mind you - they just werent working for this company). But it was old, comfortable and familiar.
I have a pair of jeans like that. I refuse to throw them out.They have holes everywhere, the denim is faded, and the hem is falling down. I wear them to garden and clean out the garage. Theyre old friends, comforting, familiar, reliable.
Sometimes we start to think about our marketing activities like that: familiar routines, comforting rituals,easy to keep going. The problem is that if you dont take a moment to examine what you are doing and why youre doing it, you could be throwing good money after bad. Ifthe marketing activities are no longer helping you achieve your goals, however you define those goals, theyre no longer useful or valuable.
Are you ready to throw out those old jeans, turn off the kitchen light after you mop the floor, or examine yourmarketing activities and results and see what you need to change? Take an hour this month to look over yourmarketing activities, results and data. If you decide that achange is in order, give it a few months to see the results.
Remember, you can always go back to what you had....butif what you had wasnt working for you and your business goals, it might be time to adjust course.