Developing a thoughtful marketing plan is a marathon, not a sprint.
As a marathoner and a marketer, I’ve found a lot of parallels between the two. With either one, you have to look at long term benefits and realize there will be pains along the way. You should also envision the finish line and the joy of reaping all of the benefits of your hard work.
But what happens when you hit the wall? You know, the point in the marathon when nothing seems to be working, and you’re fairly certain you’re just running in circles or not at all. If your marketing hits the wall, try a few of these ideas to give it some fresh legs and finish strong.
Do a Fresh Forensic Audit
If a runner’s training isn’t going well or they suffer an injury, they don’t just keep going. They break down everything they’re doing and take a very granular look at their training plans. If your company’s conversions plateau or the message has gone stale, don’t push through. Re-evaluate it yourself, or hire an agency to help. Sometimes it’s really hard to self-diagnose, so bring in a fresh perspective.
It can also be difficult to get outside of your own head and into the mindset of your audience. An agency can build out persona profiles to give a deep look at your customer base. It’s an invaluable marketing tool.
Try Something New
Runners often avoid plateaus in training with muscle confusion, or varying their workout so it’s never redundant. If your forensic review reveals tactics that aren’t working anymore, cut them. Take a look at your goals and what you want to achieve, and see if there is a better way to get there.
Then, Stay the Course
When trying a new training plan, you have to stick with it long enough to really see if it’s working. The same goes for your marketing – you can’t change tactics every month and expect to have quantifiable results. Remember: You can’t measure success if you don’t measure, so give your new approach a fair shake and track the results. Not tracking would be like a runner trying to improve their pace without timing it. It’s impossible to gauge.
Look at the Competition
When experienced runners hit the wall, they look to the person in front of them and pace off them. This helps give you a short-term goal – simply keep up with the guy in the orange jersey – but also fires our competitive nature to keep up. When you’re in a marketing rut, it can be helpful to do a competitive review. Look at your local competition, but also in other markets, too. Keep in mind the goal isn’t to copy a competitor’s campaign, but seeing how they interact with your audience could spur some ideas. It might also show you how not to talk to your audience.
Conquering the marathon takes dedication and most importantly, patience. The same applies to your marketing efforts. Taking the time to analyze what’s working and what’s not is critical, but with the extra effort you can achieve your goals while blazing a pace you never thought possible.