You did the market research, created the campaign, launched it on schedule and then…
Your engagements didn’t explode, your landing page barely got any clicks and your KPIs were unaffected. So what now? There’s no way you’ll be able to justify the expense of this campaign to the higher-ups and so you start running through all the worst case situations in your mind.
We live during a time when instant gratification is the norm. Terms like “growth hacking” insinuate that your marketing goals are going to happen overnight, and you’re just a few viral social media posts away from explosive success. Any one with a modicum of experience in marketing will tell you that this isn’t how it works. Yes, there might be an element of luck (or “virality”) involved in addition to the strategy, planning and testing that make campaigns successful, but there’s one important ingredient that we never want to acknowledge:
You probably don’t care much for patience and might even confuse it with weakness, but that’s honestly where the magic happens. With the incredible amount of technology at our hands as marketers, we often make assumptions about what this technology has the ability to do. We forget about who we are ultimately marketing to, and that is: humans.
Human beings are complicated creatures, who go through multiple rounds of decision before making a purchase (or conversion). So why, as marketers, do we expect them to slide down our well positioned sales funnel in a matter of a few clicks and then be engaged with our content for years to come? Better yet, is that how you operate yourself? This perspective is one that is removed from reality, and if you find yourself slipping down this road, you need to get hit the brakes.
Removing patience from any marketing equation is a shortsighted move. Marketers should cherish the complicated nature of the human experience, and how it provides opportunities for multiple, diverse touchpoints that can connect with people in different ways. Patience creates opportunity, but it also creates more work, which is why people are ultimately afraid to buy into it.
Being married to patience is the best decision we ever made as a marketers and once we were able to communicate the value of this to our clients, it reframed the conversation. Now, do not be confused: patience does not equate to being slow. Speed is something that is paramount to us, and the intersection between speed and patience is a fascinating place to be. By applying patience to your macro outlook, you can still move quick and deliberately in the short term.
If a campaign is failing to gain the traction, start by testing individual elements ASAP. Revisit the copy, the targeted audiences, the landing page UX, even the channels that you chose to launch it on. This is speed. However, sometimes the answer might be letting your campaign get entrenched within it’s target demographic for a bit longer to study the pockets where it is gaining traction before learning how to maximize it. That is patience. It’s harder to be nimble with large scale campaigns, but in a digital age, there are no excuses. Don’t be too proud to go back to the drawing board, revisit your KPIs and growth targets, and relaunch with a stronger strategy.
Too often, CMOs and VPs expect results instantaneously, and cannibalize a campaign before it has the chance to show its true colors. Many times, the lack of patience here is due to external factors outside of the tactics and strategy, but that’s still no excuse.
While recently executing a social campaign for a travel startup, their executive team seemed miffed by the lack of conversions after the first week. The first week. We were still testing our segmented audiences and hadn’t even began getting to the storytelling phase yet, and reminded them of these things. Their lack of patience wasn’t mean spirited, but it wasn’t taking into account the reality of human behavior and the decision making process. The campaign ended up performing above their expectations, reducing their previous CAC by nearly 50%, but it started with a patient, informed approach.
So, if there’s any one ingredient we recommend you add more of in you next campaign, it is patience. Be practical, be real and understand that nothing happens overnight. Don’t fear the work which is associated with being patience, because its in this space that you can outmaneuver your competition to get both micro and macro wins.
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Have questions about entrepreneurship, investing, tech, music, or anything in between? Get in touch with me at @anihustles.
Originally published at medium.com on October 30, 2017.