Speed up! Post it today! Work quicker! Respond now!
The "need for speed" in today's marketing world cannot be denied. We all have to think and respond quickly to just survive. The customer attention span has shortened to seconds, and our competition can change messages with the click of a mouse or stroke of a keyboard. However, it seems as we push forward in this digital age, true marketing strategy has gotten lost. Many business and organizational leaders are missing the mark in a desire to “appear” as if they are staying in front of the pack. And, when asked if they are reaching their marketing goals, many respond with blank stares or mumble about “likes” and “page views.”
Value In Slowing Down
Like anything else, the downside of moving too fast in marketing can be wasted time and money. Sometimes, it can also mean reputation damage and brand confusion. In addition, speed without strategy can also lead to missed opportunities that would have been obvious had we taken our time and stopped to plan effectively.
It's About Balance - Flexing Is Required
Although we need to slow down and plan, agility and flexing are still necessary. The days of ruminating months over a plan are gone, and those who move that slowly will be behind before they get started. We have to learn to operate at a strategic level with deep thought and planning, while responding day by day, and sometimes minute by minute to the changing market. It is an acquired skill, but a strong, well-constructed plan makes thinking and responding quickly easier and less risky. A plan give us boundaries that let us know we are still in "strategic range" of our goals, while giving us license to move quickly and change tactics within those boundaries. A good plan with specific and measurable goals actually makes us more agile and responsive in the moment. Also, with targeted goals, we can track what is working, what is not working, and how and where we need to adjust.
It's More than Analytics
Ironically, at a time when more data sources are available than ever before, many of us are still shooting from the hip and reacting. Even in this digital age of following the customer at every click and view with analytics, the same fundamental marketing questions remain: Who are our target customers? What do our customers want? How do we reach those customers most effectively? Many marketers are spending so much time reviewing analytics data, they are forgetting to use traditional research methods to answer those basic questions. It may sound “old school,” but sometimes you just have to ask the target customer those questions directly. Surveys, personal interviews and focus groups are still an important part of the research mix. Yes, they take time - but it’s worth it. Combined with good data, these traditional methods can help us develop better products and more effective messages.
Long, Intermediate, and Short
Every plan has to include a focus on longer-term goals, intermediate objectives and short-term action steps. Granted, our idea of “long-term” has shortened from years to months and quarters. However, focusing only on today and the latest tactics we “feel” might put us ahead for the moment may be costing us time, money and missed opportunities. Take the time to do the "deep work" - research and plan strategically. Slowing down, planning and setting goals can actually allow us to react with the appropriate speed and purpose that lead to actually meeting or exceeding measurable results. In a time when strategy is sometimes lost to the “tactic of the week,” those who find it again will stand out as the competitive market leaders.
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