A to Z of Marketing - J is for Journey
No, not the Eighties rock band. But their most popular hit, "Don't Stop Believing," is not entirely off-message for this post.
Marketing is a journey. Marketing that brings results and drives business growth requires planning, research and preparation.
So how is marketing like a journey? Marketing is like hiking the Appalachian Trail from one end to the other. It is driving across the United States. It is a trip to Disneyland. It is Indiana Jones assembling the team and supplies to travel halfway around the globe in quest of the Lost Ark. (Okay, well maybe that one is a bit over the top.)
Marketing is not grabbing a pack of beef jerky and a stack of CDs and hopping in the car for a random road trip. Not one of us would attempt any of those important excursions without planning our routes, finding out what to pack, arranging for lodging, checking the weather and going to the bank. We might even make provisional plans: identifying an alternate route, arranging for pet care, adjusting the newspaper subscription and such. Your marketing is equally important. It is a journey and it requires preparation.
This analogy is directly attributable to embarking upon a marketing program for your business. Hey, there is a natural, almost innately human, desire to jump into action. Isn't that the street wisdom of today? Blink. Thin-slice. Nanoseconds. Just do it. Jump. (Now you're hearing Van Halen, aren't you? Sammy Hagar on vocals.)
Alas, "Jump" is absolutely the wrong "J-word." Jumping is impulsive and 99% of the time results in wasted money, wasted time and wasted effort. Jumping causes quick choices, almost always the wrong choices. Jumping created the ad that no one saw. It produced the direct-mail piece that did not pull responses. The jump represents those dollars you wish you had back.
Before anyone gets discouraged or begins to feel overburdened, let's clarify things a bit. Marketing is indeed a journey. Done right, done well, marketing requires preparation and planning. This preliminary work does not have to be terribly costly or time consuming. It just has to be done well.
Before you launch a new advertising campaign, take the time to plan how you will respond to new inquiries. Where will you direct the prospective customer? If to your Web site, is it ready? When is the last time you changed the home page? How will you handle the initial arrival? Will you direct them to a landing page? Overall, do you have the marketing and sales tools (case studies, brochures, demonstrations, testimonials and proposals) to persuade a potential new customer? Are provisions in place for tracking and measurement? How will you get them from interested to invested ... from curious to committed?
The answer: not by jumping, rather by planning for your successful marketing journey. Finally, as marketing geniuses know: don't stop believing in the power of intelligent, well planned marketing to drive the results that you need.