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 because I already had a solid 5-years of experience at it. I imagined sparkling windows and my dad giving me huge praise for doing such a stupendous job. Instead, I got streaks, white spots, and lots of fuzz from my rag. The windows were getting clean, but lacking the desired results.
As I cleaned, window after window, my dad kept telling me to use newspaper instead of a rag. I rolled my eyes every time. "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...
With just a few windows remaining, my annoyance with my father growing each moment, and feeling disappointed over streaked windows, my dad finally left to run errands. That's when I decided to try the newsprint. I crumpled up a sheet from remnants of the Sunday paper, sprayed some glass cleaner on the window and started rubbing the glass. At first, the newspaper wasn't absorbing the liquid and nothing was happening. "See!" I thought to myself. Then the streaks started to disappear, leaving the glass SUPER shiny. It was the weirdest thing I had seen. It made me roll my eyes and think, "Of course, Dad."
What does this story have to do with marketing? Well, I come across many businesses and organizations that take the stance I took against my father because I thought I knew it all. When you decide you know it all or have tried it all, you are taking the teenager stance and that mentality will NOT lead to success.
You might have attempted email blasts a few times and then stopped because you decided it wasn't working. Or, you've been writing proposals and 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... "that's the way I've always done it."
These behaviors create two unfortunate circumstances. First, they block opportunities that only come your way when you are open. Second, they keep you from achieving a greater level of success and halt your business potential. What can you do to STOP being a marketing teenager?
Here are three steps for a mindset of success...
Recognize the problem - Being closed off poses a serious problem for your business. I've seen clients and other businesses suffer because they avoid innovation. Once they recognized what they were doing, (mainly hurting sales!) they quickly decided to be more open to constructive criticism and change.
Collaborate - Ask for advice and be open to suggestions. Test the waters. This is imperative for your marketing efforts. There is no one way of doing things that will bring all the results. You might need to implement a few different strategies.
For instance, advertising usually leads people to your website; both your ad and your website have to be effective at pulling in potential customers. Another example is a brochure, directing your audience to a Facebook page that leads to your website; all three tools must be in place in order to draw the customer in. Therefore, testing comes into play when you are unclear about what those top few activities should be. Have a colleague brainstorm with you on what you can do better. Or, have them suggest something brand new. This will also test YOUR receptivity, a very important first step toward change and innovation.
Evaluate current efforts - What are you doing now. Does it work? Who is involved? What are the current measurable results? Determine how you might improve these activities and outcomes. 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. I suggest looking at your branding or messaging. Do you know how effective these are or how strong they are? Dig deeper.
Apply these three steps today and leave the marketing teenage stage behind. Start experiencing more success in your business strategies and organizational growth.
Now...tell me! Share your teen mishaps over marketing advice and recommendations. How did you turn that mindset around?
In honor of your illumination!