I want to share a story with you.
The summer I turned 14 years old, my dad decided he was going to designate the task of cleaning windows to me. I was to go around the entire house and clean every window from the inside of the house. He would clean them from the outside.
So, I began. Mind you, by age 14 I had pretty much everything figured out, especially when it came to cleaning our house. I had a solid 5 years of experience cleaning our house. I got a rag, I got glass cleaner and I started cleaning. I imagined sparkling windows and my dad giving me huge praise for doing such a stupendous job. Instead, I got streaks. I got white spots and lots of fuzz from my rag. The windows were getting clean, but the results I wanted were no where to be found. While I cleaned and went from window to window, my dad kept telling me to use newspaper instead of a rag. I rolled my eyes every time. I thought to myself, "how in the heck would newspaper do the job better than a rag? He must be making it up. There goes dad again, trying to tell me how to do everything HIS way." I certainly did not need anyone telling me how to clean, of all things...
I got through most of the house with just a few more windows left feeling annoyed at my dad for trying to tell me how to do my job. I was also a bit disappointed that the windows were just not looking that great. My dad went out to run errands. That's when I thought I would try the newspaper. I crumpled up a sheet from remnants of the Sunday paper, sprayed some glass cleaner on the window and started rubbing the cleaner onto the glass with the newspaper. At first, the newspaper wasn't absorbing the liquid and nothing was happening. "See!" I thought to myself. Then, I started to see the streaks were disappearing and the glass was SUPER shiny. It was the weirdest thing I had ever heard of. It made me roll my eyes, but it worked really well.
What does this story have to do with marketing? Well, I come across so many businesses and organizations that take the stance I took against my father because I thought I knew it all. When you think or proclaim you know it all or have tried it all, you are taking the teenager stance and the teenager stance is not the stance what will lead you to big success.
You might have tried to do that email blast a few times and then stopped because you decided it "wasn't working." Or, you've been writing proposals, or conducting sales pitches the same way for years, not acknowledging the lukewarm results. You keep disregarding the advice of a colleague or marketing consultant about planning because you have it all in your head and "that's the way I've always done it." These kinds of thoughts and behavior create two unfortunate circumstances. First, it blocks you from opportunities that only come your way when you are open. Second, it keeps you from growing and achieving a greater level of success that is the true potential of you and your business. So what can you do stop being a marketing teenager? I'll outline 3 steps you can take today to get out of the marketing teenager mentality and move into a mindset of success.
1. Recognize that you are being closed off. The first step to getting help is to recognize you have a problem. In all seriousness, being closed off could pose a serious problem to your business. I've seen clients and other businesses suffer all because they were closed off to a new way of doing something or completely against implementing a new idea. Once they realized and recognized what they were doing (mainly hurting sales!) they quickly decided to be more open to constructive criticism and trying something different.
2. Share a list of your current marketing with a colleague and ask them for advice on one of them. Then see if you can do what they suggest. This is a great way to test. Testing is so important in marketing. Most people think there is that one activity that is going to get them all the results. Often times it's not just one thing. It's more like 2 to 3 things because usually one works off of another. For instance, your advertising usually leads people to your website. Both your ad and your website have to be effective at pulling in your potential customer. Another example is a brochure, that then leads to a Facebook page that then leads to a website. All 3 have to be in place in order to draw the customer in. So, testing comes into play when you are unclear about what those top 2 to 3 activities should be. Have a colleague give you suggestions on how to do something you are already doing and get their ideas on how to do it differently. Or, have them suggest somethings brand new. This will also test your ability to be open, which we discussed above to be a very important first step.
3. Pick one area of marketing that you've been consistently putting out there. Take some time to review that activity. Look at how it works, who is involved, what are the outcomes, etc. Make notes of all of these things. If you measure the results, look at what the results have been so far. Then, determine how you might improve that activity either by improving the process, the results, or return on investment. If you don't measure the results, then that is probably the best area to improve on! You should absolutely have an idea of whether a long term marketing investment has been paying off. One area I suggest is looking at your branding or messaging. Do you know how effective these are or how strong they are? Dig deeper.
Apply these three things today to start moving out of being a marketing teenager and start experiencing more success when it comes to marketing and business or organizational growth.
Now you tell me! Can you share a time when you've brought out the teenager in you over marketing advice and recommendations? How did you turn that mindset around?
In honor of your illumination!