We all play the blame game. Some in the marketing world have even turned it into an art form. They say:
Our marketing isn’t working because we don’t have enough money.
Our marketing isn’t working because we don’t have enough time.
Our marketing isn’t working because the economy is weak and no one is spending any money.
They may be correct. These are all valid problems, and several of them might hit you at once. But marketing professionals rise and fall not on their ability to identify and blame problems, but according to how well they solve them. Throwing your hands in the air won’t work. Here’s what will work as a response to some common issues.
Time and Money
Time and money go together for good reason. They’re finite resources that marketers can use wisely or squander. And even when you have unlimited time and money there is always a point where more of either can’t change outcomes. As you move closer to any deadline your options narrow and costs expand. Think about any time you had to book last-minute air travel.
An event or deadline that is many months away can be subject to very grand, specific plans, along with very vague ideas about the cost of those plans. Time passes leaving less to use for execution or exploring alternatives, while money gets spent on other things. Soon, the deadline or event is just around the corner and there’s not enough time or money to bring those grand plans to fruition. Plan B? Cobble together an effort that’s “good enough” with the time and money that are left over.
The solution? Know your budget, be realistic about your plans, and track progress and expenses against a realistic timeline.
Economic uncertainty is a frequent topic when marketers are explaining poor results. It’s a real issue. Depending on your industry and marketplace, downturns and cycles can be predicted. This falls under the category of emergency preparedness. Often in downturns, marketing budgets are slashed since they have an immediate impact on the bottom line. Sure, it’s a myopic practice but from a marketing standpoint, it’s important to be able to put up a barrier between expenses that are critical and those that can be put off until things pick up. For example, dealer support is something directly connected to sales, but a tradeshow appearance can sometimes be scaled back or canceled without as much long term damage.
Base your decisions on as much analysis as possible. Avoid the tendency to overreact to things that are completely beyond our control. Remember that being emotional or frightened rarely leads to the best outcomes.
Remember, There’s Still Hope
Challenges are everlasting. They’re not going away, they usually aren’t anything we can control, and sometimes they’re going to hit us in complex ways. But, there is always a lot that can be done to overcome them. It may not be as much fun as a pyrotechnics display you wanted at your trade show. But with a little planning, it will be far more effective.