I often get asked about the difference in keeping your marketing going once you are a few years up and running compared to when you first start out.
Well, the planning, implementation, and monitoring principles are in fact exactly the same.
However, that is about all that does remain the same because everything else is always changing – our prospects, customers, competition, the world at large and, most of all, ourselves.
That’s all part of the rich experience of running a business and I think you have to relish that as much as whatever it is you actually do if you’re going to enjoy it and stay the course.
Every day is a learning experience. This may sound trite, but it’s true.
In marketing planning, we are constantly testing the relationship between the four core pillars of our business:
Like well trained detectives, we are always looking for clues to improve and develop our offering, be better than our competitors and take advantage of opportunity.
So, if it’s important to take the time at the start to plan and do the strategic thinking bit, then it’s as important to keep taking time out to reflect and assess what’s working well and what not so well as time moves on.
When we’re up and running, we can quickly find we are overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks, we can become so bogged down in the detail, we start to lose sight of the bigger picture. Why did we start all this in the first place?
Here are four watchwords to keeping successful and even sane.
If we are experiencing feeling of doubt, fear or uncertainty, then chances are we need to find more clarity on some level or other. Being clear about our direction, gaining a clear understanding of our prospects and customers, being sure that we are offering great value. These are all critical in ensuring we move confidently forward.
Once we reach this point, then being able to adjust to new conditions (what’s changing around us and inside ourselves) is crucial. Accept that change is part of business life, be willing to change, be agile and flexible. Mould your offering and your approach to fit your new desires and adapt to the feedback you receive from those around you. Release yourself from habits, people and places that are no longer serving you well, even if they did serve you well in the beginning.
Give it time and remain calm. The dictionary defines “perseverance” as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”. Link it with adaptability though be clear on the goal yet flexible on the means of achieving that goal.
In your periods of reflection and planning, take time to troubleshoot your marketing process. Map out what you are currently doing and look at where people are getting held up on their journey towards doing business with you. Are there specific points where they fall by the wayside or just slow down? Most likely you will see some gaps or holes. What information, feeling or experience are they missing out on that would keep them on track? What can you do to provide this for them?
Refine your process, see what happens, reflect and review again, refine again – and keep that troubleshooting process going.
Ah, yes. It’s easy to think that so much time has passed and we haven’t achieved very much. So, be realistic and be kind to yourself. But also use your periods of reflection to realise just how much you really have achieved! Celebrate the little things as well as the big things, because the journey is just as important as the destination.