Many marketing campaigns, strategies and tactics fail to get full buy-in due to one common issue: the length of time they take to implement and deliver results.
More often than not, it isn’t easy – or even possible – to achieve the desired result as quickly as stakeholders want. Here are my thoughts on why time is not the enemy of marketers, and a few reasons why patience is a valuable mindset for marketing teams and stakeholders.
It’s all just a big misunderstanding
Many marketers feel time is the enemy as a result of external pressures to get the work done faster. But what if the “work” requires time to plan and execute properly?
Nobody understands marketing better than those of us in the trenches every single day. We’re all striving to do better marketing, and that includes consuming hours of content just to keep pace with the ebb and flow of the industry. We want things to happen as quickly as possible – it’d be a lot better for us! – but sometimes it isn’t possible.
I have a friend who is a marketing manager for a mid-sized brand. The company operates three different websites which, unfortunately, were not correctly maintained prior to her tenure with the company. For various reasons, including duplicate content, poor domain authority and the use of tactics that drew Google’s wrath, the websites need to be redesigned and migrated.
All three of them.
Many of you reading this know a project like this takes months. In most cases, as it is in this one, a complete overhaul is the only option.
In marketing, some things take time. If a task should take an hour and it takes five, it’s unacceptable. However a project that takes two months, but delivers the expected results, is a success. Rather than a metric, time is a requirement.
There is only one right way
The fact that time is an inherent component of many digital marketing strategies and tactics is the biggest reason patience is an integral part of achieving success. In these instances, time isn’t your enemy, it’s your friend.
Ever heard the expression, “Good things come to those who wait”? As marketers, we often do weeks of hard work, followed by weeks, or even months, of waiting for results. There are usually small maintenance tasks and some tinkering here and there, but for the most part, if you’ve done good work, time is the bringer of success.
In terms of time, we can compare traditional marketing to farming. Farmers plant crops and ensure they are protected and have enough water, but beyond that, they are simply waiting for time to pass before harvesting the crop. The is no magic button or substitute for time; time must pass to achieve the desired result. There is a slight nuance here with digital marketing since we capture so much data – This offers us checkpoints to ensure our strategy is on track to deliver results and offers the opportunity to split test different ideas. However we need to keep faith in our initial strategy and give it the breathing space to deliver.
Too many times, a company wants to achieve what I’ll call “X result.” And they want to achieve it fast. Yet as soon as they find out “X result” can’t happen overnight, they’ll settle for something less, or something completely different.
When the canvas is blank, there are a wide range of marketing tactics that can help businesses accomplish a certain goal. But sometimes, there’s only one right way to get “X result”, and if it just so happens it’ll take a while, remember all the reasons why time is not the enemy of marketers.
It’s no secret we live in an age of instant gratification. A rather dark episode of the TV show Black Mirror takes this idea to the extreme, depicting a society in which a person’s status is defined by the five-star rating system – as rated by other people. Every character’s action has an end goal: to get people to rate their picture or video a five out of five. And the quicker the better!
We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting closer. Our society’s lack of patience – even in the business world – is evidence of our growing addiction to instant gratification.
Marketing isn’t instant. In most cases, it’s a slow burn with a big payoff. There are some tactics, like PPC, that generate quicker returns if your goal is generating traffic, but PPC is no substitute for for having a well thought out marketing plan with clear goals and KPIs.
When you remove the expectation of instant gratification, your marketing campaigns become more natural and ultimately have a much better chance at delivering results.
Time is a funny thing. We’ve given time universal and exact definitions, but each of us perceives a day, a month and a year much differently.
In business, time is money. When the people responsible for a company’s bottom line hear that a project will take weeks not hours, they’re understandably unhappy. But when there’s no alternative to doing the job the right way, patience is necessary.
Time can, and often is, the only thing standing between you and success. Time is no enemy of mine – don’t let it be yours either.