Thursday, February 19, 2009

In Marketing, Are You The Hare Or The Tortoise?

So many people start their "marketing" journey with a big burst of speed like the fabled hare - with great ideas and lots of energy. Unfortunately, like the hare, they tire of the process and eventually quit before they reach the finish line - resting by the side of the road, until they fall asleep from boredom. The tortoise on the other hand, with his slow and consistent mindset, never gives up. And in the end, even though he doesn't always see immediate results with each step, reaches his goal.

It's not how fast you start, but how you finish.

So are you the Hare or the Tortoise?

If you are like about 95% of all small business owners, you are always looking for the quick fix, the answer that will turn your business around today. Unfortunately, there isn't one. And if there is, I haven't found it. And, if you want my opinion, any one who tells you differently, is selling you something.

So what is the answer. I've found the best answer to this quandary is....

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency!

The purpose of marketing is creating your message (your promise) and then delivering it to perspective customers so that they choose to give you a chance to sell them your product or service. So if we break that down, we need to be consistent in message and consistent in delivery.

The truth is your potential customers are being bombarded with marketing messages every day (some experts believe as many as 20,000 messages per day). So in order for you to stand out, you have to one, deliver a message that strikes a chord with them (touches their needs) and two, deliver it again and again. Because by the time they even realize you tried to reach them, they've seen or heard 20-30 or more messages for different products or ones just like yours.

Now that doesn't mean you can't be unique and "remarkable" in your message, but you have to make sure the message is consistent.

The "hare" gets so excited to market himself that he doesn't spend much time on his message and blurts out the first thing that comes to mind, using the media format that is most convenient or easiest. This message usually resonates in his own mind, but rarely within the minds of his perspective customers.

Conversely, the "tortoise" recognizes that he doesn't get a lot of chances to make an impression with perspective customer. He knows that he has a very limited budget, so he takes some time to find out who his perspective customers are, what they need, and how best to contact them.

The "hare" starts so fast and spends so much money broadcasting his message, that if he doesn't see immediate results, he either burns out on the process (feeling that marketing really doesn't work) or he runs out of money, because the results are coming quick enough to sustain his spending pace. The last, and quite frankly the worse, alternative is that the small business "Hare" is distracted in the middle of his current marketing plan by another marketing idea / campaign and immediately gets chased down another "rabbit hole".

Meanwhile, the 'tortoise" knows that his perspective customers are being bombarded with thousands of marketing messages a day, but if he is consistent with his delivery and his message with his unique / remarkable promise, he dramatic increases the likelihood that his perspective customers will give him a chance to deliver on his message.

So the question that I asked at the beginning of this article, and I hope you are now asking yourself . . .

Are you a "hare"?

Or a "tortoise"?

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