Recently GetResponse published a post about how to find time for everything, using a Harry Potter analogy. Other than fueling my desire to write a Harry Potter-themed marketing post – which I soon will – Hermione’s Time-Turner got me thinking about time and marketing as they relate to something I read earlier.
In a recent post on American Gods, marketing and the power of belief, that talked about the difficulties of getting stakeholder buy-in for marketing campaigns. The main point was that full belief is the goal of any campaign pitch because without it, the campaign won’t ever achieve its goals.
What I realize now is that 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.
It’s been said many times before on this blog, but marketing is a tough game, especially in our increasingly digital world. More often than not, it isn’t easy – or even possible – to achieve a desired result as quickly as stakeholders want.
Once and for all, here are my thoughts on why time is not the enemy of marketers, and a few reasons 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 occur?
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 redone 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 rehaul is the only option.
My colleague’s bosses said that time frame wasn’t an option; she said it was the only option. In the end, the company decided to forego the site redesign and migration.
In marketing, some things take time. If a task should take an hour and it takes five, it’s unacceptable. But 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, look at marketing like 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. There is no magic button or substitute for time; time must pass to achieve the desired result.
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 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 site migration.
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.