With the modern desire for instant results, patience is no longer a virtue!
In a world where a football manager can be sacked after just five games; you can order a sofa and get same day delivery and see within seconds, what your friend is eating on holiday, surely marketing is the same – instant results, lead after lead and brand building within a month. You couldn’t be more wrong!
Plan for Results
If an agency or marketing guru promises you instant results don’t believe a word. Building a brand takes time, years even. Social media needs building and nurturing to encourage engagement and have impact. Websites need constant updating and tweaking to stay relevant, active and successful. Marketing needs to be planned and a strategy followed to generate long-term results for your brand.
Yet, to make the most of your budget and maximise the return on investment, marketing should be considered as a whole. Don’t take one isolated element and try to make it work when it may be conflicting with other less important actions.
Too many times I have seen an exhibition take up to 50% of a marketing budget when, if an agreed strategy was in place, other activities may have been more rewarding! Note: we are fans of exhibitions but not at any expense.
How many advertising campaigns over the years have lasted one or two ads’ then been withdrawn? If you are not committed to a campaign over a sustained period then don’t start it, do something else. A campaign should run for a minimum period in order to fully evaluate its effectiveness. Brand building should have a commitment of at least three years in the business plan.
Social media again needs a long term approach as it takes time to build followers, engage an audience and create meaningful connections/leads through to your website. Even a website needs time to climb the google rankings and for directories and blogs to find and rate you.
Lead Generation Needs Time
Patience is also needed for new business leads. In some markets, construction particularly, these leads can take six-nine, even 12 months to come to fruition. An exhibition is a classic example, all leads should be followed up as soon as possible, certainly within a week (don’t get me started on those who don’t even bother to follow up show leads!). With proper planning, sales teams can be primed for a five day follow up post-show, rather than just picking up where they left off. To analyse an exhibition you really need to wait a full year until you can make an informed decision on its effectiveness.
Marketing needs patience, time and above all, a strategy. Without these, marketing will always be seen as a cost and not an investment. Ad-hoc rarely works and all elements of the marketing mix should be considered before any activities commenced.
So, in the words of Take That, “…have a little patience”.