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Think of your marketing as a marathon, not a sprint

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When it comes to how you think about marketing and expectations for results a little context is in order.

Is marketing a button you can push for instant gratification?  Or is it an on-going exercise that only shows true results in the long term?  History (and research) supports the latter.  Too many marketers think it is the former.

Consumers today are pulled in so many directions and have such diverse media usage habits that isolated, short term marketing efforts have little chance of moving the needle.  Let’s say you are a retailer and your marketing calendar has been empty for a sustained period of time.  In most cases you would find that your sales have been declining.  Oops!  Better put a marketing program together, get some advertising out there and get some sales right away.  If you have gone through this experience you know that it just doesn’t work that way.  Those consumers are distracted and may not see your message even if strongly supported.  And most product categories other than packaged goods the incidence of purchase is low.  Chances are there just aren’t many consumers in the market for what you sell at any given point in time.

Marketing and advertising is essentially a learning process.  If you are reading a book and read a few pages a day, but read it every day until the book is finished you will probably remember most of what you read.  On the other hand, if you read several chapters and then set it aside for a couple weeks it’s easy to forget what you read before and you have to start all over again.

Use your advertising and marketing on a daily basis to “teach” your prospects about your products and services.  You won’t see instant results but chances are there will be a cumulative effect and your results will build over time.  When your prospects are online, you’ll be there.  When they are suddenly in the market for your product/service, they are more likely to remember your name and respond to your offer.  When your marketing efforts are consistent and on-going, every nickel you spend is a nickel in the brand awareness bank.  When your marketing efforts are sporadic and infrequent you’re just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.  Marketing and advertising has been heavily researched for decades and evidence that persistent campaigns show positive results is overwhelming (there are many studies…go ahead and Google it!)

Make sure you’re running the marketing marathon.  You’ll be a winner in the long run.

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