There is nothing quite like pulling into your favorite coffee drive-thru, ordering a tasty drink, and then getting to the window to find someone has paid for your drink! It puts a pep in our step and usually makes us excited to pay for the person in line behind us. These random acts of kindness can only be good, right?
As someone who used to work in one of those coffee shops, let me tell you: random acts of kindness toward others in a drive-thru makes your baristas crazy. It’s not that they’re mean, grumpy, joyless curmudgeons; they’ve been trained to follow a fine-tuned system to make them efficient and effective at their job. And when that system is disrupted, things can quickly fall apart. Things fall through the cracks, orders get messed up, orders go unpaid in confusion… While it might seem like this random act of kindness is wonderful, we can’t escape the fact that it’s not always kind to the people working for you.
And beyond that, more often than not, these small little things, while noble in their effort to make the world a kinder place, are just a temporary spike of feeling good. Making the world actually kinder means doing good in a prolonged, active, and intentional way. One free coffee is awesome, but a system to meet the real needs of people is better.
Now you may be asking yourself, what in the heck does this have to do with Marketing?
Have you ever noticed that we tend to treat our marketing “strategy” like it’s a spontaneous treat? The truth of the matter is that it isn’t a strategy, it’s a random act of marketing. Maybe it felt proactive, maybe it even brought you a little success, but at the end of the day, it was just a temporary spike of feeling good, feeling like you made a difference for your business.
And hear me out; this isn’t to shame anyone or make them feel stupid! Just like with random acts of kindness, they have noble intentions and aren’t bad, immoral, or even useless. But at the same time, are they the best way to support your business? Is it the most efficient way of using your budget dollars and energy?
Marketing can be really overwhelming. It requires research, knowledge, creativity, and a specific skill set. This is why we have an industry full of professionals who understand how marketing works and have the skills to do it well. And while a business owner, especially a small business owner, can learn many of those skills, it is harder to know what to prioritize when it comes to marketing tactics. This is why having a Marketing strategy is so important.
A marketing strategy is as important to your business as your business plan. While your business plan is a blueprint for how you’ll run things, how you’ll serve your customer, and the financial nitty-gritty, a marketing strategy is the action plan on how to get your business in front of the customers you want and need. It’s vital to the success of your business. While random acts of marketing, a Facebook ad here, an SEO-driven blog there, might have paid off in small ways, having a marketing strategy is the key to long-term success.
Remember what I said earlier about long-term difference-making? That applies to your marketing too. You need an intentional, action-based plan that you’re committed to for the long haul. It’s also not something you should do alone! Having a team on your side who knows the ins and outs of the marketing world leaves you to do the important work of running your business.
Because with most marketing tactics, you really need time for those to develop. Marketing and gardening have a lot in common. As much as we’d love to till a whole field, toss all our seeds out at once, and come back the next day to a thriving, weed and pest-free cornucopia of success, that’s not how it works. Certain marketing tools work better in different seasons, days, and even times of the day! So if you’ve been tossing your seeds into the wind hoping for success, no wonder few of them have bloomed into the success you deserve!
As we enter a new year, let this be the year you go all in on your marketing strategy. Because the truth is, we don’t know what this year is going to bring. With talks of recessions and economic downturns, taking the time right now, at the dawn of the new year, and making a sustainable and sustained plan for your marketing will be crucial to riding the wave of an unstable economy. And even if the economy suddenly takes a massive upturn, all the work you’ve put into your marketing plan can only help you!
So what are the first two things you can do right now to keep from falling into the trap of random acts of marketing?
Consult the experts
Whether you meet with a marketing coach, hire an internal marketing team, or work with an agency, get the expert’s opinion. Maybe even get multiple opinions. This will give you a solid foundation for understanding what kind of marketing tactics will work best for your business and what to prioritize. You can talk about timelines, methods, concerns, etc., but the first step is to have the conversation.
Stick to the Plan.
Once you and your team have created a plan, STICK WITH IT. Remember your poor drive-thru barista? That’s your marketing team. If you’ve devised a well-thought-out plan, don’t let panic derail your hard work and investment. It’s okay to get updates on success and to look crucially at your plan to weed out the strategies that aren’t working, but the biggest thing that leads to a stressed-out marketing team and random acts of marketing is not sticking to the plan due to impatience. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Enjoy the process!
Here at Pulse Marketing, we aim to be an extension of your business. We’re not just a team you can hire; we’re your team, looking out for your best interests. And when you thrive, we thrive.
We’d love to come alongside you this new year and help you create a strategy that works for you, regardless of the next 12 months’ hold. Save the random acts of marketing, and let’s get your business on a growth plan toward your best year yet.