Patience really is a virtue: Why it matters in marketing
Both an art and a science, crafting a marketing campaign requires skill and creativity. Making that campaign work for you requires patience, time, and consistency. Here are a few barriers that marketers must consider to combat common hurdles.
CMOs: Constantly Moving On
The problem: The way in which a Chief Marketing Officer’s (CMO) performance is often measured means that they have a notoriously short lifespan at a single company.
Do these scenarios sound familiar?
Scenario one: A CMO joins a team and decides to do a company-wide rebrand. Sales dip over a certain period, and the CMO gets fired. A replacement CMO is hired and changes something else, and so the cycle repeats.
Scenario two: A new CMO joins a company and decides to replace the entire marketing team. The new team takes time to acclimate to their new working environment and learn how to work together.
The problem in both scenarios is that there is no consistency. A new CMO will usually implement significant changes to prove their worth. This approach goes against how marketing intrinsically works, especially in a long sales cycle. In the business-to-business (B2B) world, sales cycles range from six to 18 months, from when the lead comes in to actually selling to that lead. Consistency crashes with the average tenure of a CMO sitting at about three months in a tech company and six months everywhere else. Stuck in a cycle of start-stop-start, nothing ever gets more efficient.
The solution: Take out the human element when relying on consistency. Calm down! I’m not suggesting replacing your team with robots or AI. I’m talking about good old-fashioned documentation – an internal brand guide that describes how your brand sounds, looks, and feels and a process that supports the implementation of it. If your company is reliant on the presence of certain people to enforce this document, it has failed. Work this document into your processes. Make it an integral part of your brand to support consistency, sustainability and efficiency.
Stop viewing your brand as a shiny, fluffy object and take it seriously. Cover everything from the font size you prefer to what color you expect to see with your logo in an advert if it’s run in a community paper on a Wednesday on a partly cloudy day. The more detailed, the better.
The goal is that anyone coming into your company can consistently use this guide to represent your brand. Over time, this crucial resource will build your brand value – no matter how many designers, CMOs or writers you employ.
Bonus tip: Using this guide, CMOs can try out new ideas without swaying from (and crash landing) your brand principles or bottom line.
Patience and perspective, grasshopper.
The problem: Looking into the results of a campaign at a granular level and not having enough data points.
A resonating, viral video is the meeting of the right subject matter in the correct cultural time and setting. Marketing is similar: many factors influence how well a marketing campaign works. Selling to a B2B audience may limit your potential customer base to a few million (at most), whereas a business-to-customer (B2C) base expands to a few billion. Is your customer in a good mood that day? Do they need your product or service this month? Will your ad be a distant memory next week when their decision maker returns from an overseas trip?
Sometimes, all you need to get those leads is for all the pixies in the forest to be standing on one leg, singing at the exact right pitch at the precise moment that all the stars and planets align, as the wind picks up just enough. (Ts & Cs: Limited to one deal per marketer per lifetime.)
Occasionally, a campaign's success may ultimately be out of your control, but no campaign is a wasted effort. Data collection is your biggest asset toward improvement, and no campaign equals no data.
The solution: Give your marketing campaign enough time to work. Letting it run for a week or two and giving up because you’ve had no leads is a failure on your part, not that of your campaign. Marketing is not an overnight magic trick. Often, doubling down on a campaign or making minor adjustments instead of axing it entirely is the correct course of action.
Measure the success of a campaign based on expanded data points. Instead of deep diving into one campaign’s results, do this over a series of ten campaigns. Let the impact of the many inform your strategy. Ten campaigns will give you a more accurate average; one campaign only shows you the performance of a campaign that may or may not be hitting at that exact time.
Be aware that measuring the success of a campaign based on clicks received may matter in a B2C context, but not necessarily on a B2B scale. Also, take into account different social climates at different times.
Bonus tip: Your most important data points are acquired leads and cost per lead. Measure these quarterly/annually to gauge improvement or stagnation.
The problem: Two different belief systems: "brand marketing" vs. "demand generation."
Brand marketers: "I'm going to spend tons of money and resources on how we look and where we're seen. By the way, you won't see the impact on sales for a long time."
Demand generators: "I'm going after the sales by sending people through a very specific nurture to get them to buy something. By the way, you can measure me on leads and conversions in a few months."
These two camps are intertwined. This is the measuring stick marketers use to set the expectations of their superiors on how their efforts are performing. In action, these are no different from one another. However, your brand impact will remain something that requires patience. Done well, it should naturally increase your credibility and make your demand generation efforts go further.
The solution: Set yourself up for a successful marketing career by spending money on looking good and being in the right place, but focus on driving your audience to action – a demo, a download, a newsletter.
Bonus tip: Good branding, very simply, is confidently doing something repeatedly without contradiction. Do this over time and watch the impact as it unfolds.
For best results, commit to a long-term marketing strategy. Maintain consistency as much as possible and give your marketing efforts time to work. Use data as a solid foundation for success measurements and future testing. Use several reference points to average campaign results over a number of campaigns or a year-on-year figure. This method will give you a more accurate, clearer picture of what is and isn’t working.
Above all else, step back, look at the bigger picture, and don’t get bogged down in the granular details you can’t control.