Is the marketing ever really “done?”
Finished, completed, done — we often use these words interchangeably and ignore their subtle differences. They all mean the same thing, right?
But when we talk about marketing, the nuances are important as they can clue us in to how people think and what that means to your marketing initiatives.
- Finished: This generally means that something has come to a conclusion, or is completed to a satisfactory level.
- Completed: This implies that a task has been carried out to its very end.
Both of these words are like the period at the end of a sentence.
“Done” is different. It drips with finality as if you are finished for good.
We like getting things done. Our work, vacation planning, chores, dinner, and dishes all make people happy once they are “done.” It’s a nice way to take a breath and go on to the next thing. In general, people like order and the satisfaction that comes from marking something off their list.
We see it in the way we think about work as well. We often complete or finish a task, then move on to the next one. But at the end of the day, we are “done.” Done is good. Unless you’re a marketer, that is.
Why “done” can hinder marketing potential
When a marketer begins to think of projects or tactics as individual items with end dates, they may be missing huge opportunities. Yes, deadlines and completing individual tasks are important, but one of the goals of a marketing plan should be seeking to answer the question “What could we do better to help the organization succeed?”
Marketing isn’t perfect. It’s fluid and involves the whims of people, which can change at a moment’s notice. Because of this, marketing works with trends and a good dose of experience.
Experienced marketers will approach a challenge with strategies and tactics that have, in general, worked before. They then take those and tweak them to the audience you want to attract. A good marketer will tell you what they expect to achieve, which makes outcomes measurable, both in KPIs and ROI. A great marketer will watch the data roll in, recognize what is or isn’t working, and then suggest areas in which to pivot, rinse, and repeat.
The launch of a campaign does not mean marketing is done. Nor does looking at the results.
A marketing campaign may be “finished” or “concluded,” but great marketers analyze the results with you, figure out what worked (or didn’t), and then come up with the next tactic that addresses any previous shortcomings.
Process improvement is never done
What if your sales were simply “done?” Or production was “done?” Your business would cease to exist.
At the heart of the issue is that marketing is often confused with advertising or promotional campaigns — which actually can have a start and stop date.
In a recent Google search of “Is marketing ever done,” the results showed, “How long should marketing last?” The answer was 3 months. But when you dive into the answers, the content is specific to advertising campaigns. But real marketing is a process.
If your sales team wasn’t selling, would the business stop selling? No. You’d look for a new and improved sales process, change up the team, add new tools, maybe hire a consultant, read books on best practices, etc. You’d improve your sales process.
Marketing is a dial, not a switch
We believe that marketing should never completely stop unless you’re closing your doors for good. Marketing is a dial, not an on/off switch.
We once worked with a CEO who would ask, “Is the marketing on?” Of course, the answer would be “YES!” (but it should not ever be completely off).
The reality is that a great marketing team should know what is or isn’t working well based on how the company is doing overall.
Disjointed marketing teams work in a vacuum where they stay focused on doing the same things day after day, losing sight of the fact that the company is always in motion and that they need to stay strategic and in touch with leadership and the sales team.
Stepping back on a quarterly or yearly to review your strategic marketing plan can help you determine the best strategy for dialing your marketing up or down.
Marketing is never done
Our approach to marketing is based on a lean manufacturing process that stresses agile evaluation and agility. We check in with our clients every two weeks to review where we are in our strategic marketing plan, understand how much progress has been made toward our goals, and then look for opportunities for feedback and adjustment along the way.
Progress is made towards specific goals, while also providing the flexibility to make changes and adaptations as needed. Quarterly check-ins and annual strategic planning sessions are required as well.
We create marketing plans with specific and measurable goals for our clients. This allows us to evaluate performance and prove marketing’s ROI. But we also foster an environment where team members feel empowered to share new ideas and approaches, and where feedback is welcomed and incorporated into the process. It also means we aren’t afraid to make purposeful changes based on what data is telling us.
At 1 Bold Step, we are never truly “done.” Our philosophy is that there is always something new to learn, data to be analyzed, and ideas to implement. We’ll take the entirety of our experiences and use them to improve the way we do things for ourselves and our clients.
So, please don’t mark the marketing as “done.” Let’s dive in together and see what the market and your data is telling us we should do.
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