Every so often, I’m reminded that many expect miracles from their marketing efforts or more accurately very quick results. Part of the reason is because we often talk about overnight successes but the reality is that is rarely the case. Many of these so called overnight successes had been toiling in obscurity for many years or had pivoted to something that took off, whereas previous attempts had not. There are exceptions but they are not the rule.
The reality is that marketing is always a long term game. It takes time for integrated B2B marketing campaigns to deliver results. While there might be some quick wins initially, to really have an impact on sales it takes time. You may generate hundreds of leads with a campaign but most will not be ready to buy right away and need to be nurtured. It’s the law of a complex sales with a long sales cycle that cannot be broken.
I’m often surprised how marketing can be expected to deliver immediate results when R&D is given time to develop the product and sales is given time to build a pipeline. Not always the case, I know. Yet, people ask what happened to a lead that was generated a week ago and wonder why it hasn’t closed when the sales cycle is measured in months, not weeks. Or worse, people drop a campaign before it really has time to gain traction.
The reality is that it takes time to build and execute an integrated marketing campaign and ultimately convert the demand into sales. Marketing is not something you can turn on at the last minute and expect it to show immediate results. We, as marketers, fail to remember this on occasion.
Creating the content and then distributing it so the prospects read and share it does not happen the next day. It also takes time to build relationships with the media and tell the stories that result in coverage for your company. And, it takes time to build a following on your social media platform of choice.
How long does this take you might ask? Well, it’s one of those “it depends” answers. It depends on your target market, the complexity of the product you are selling, the maturity of your market, the competition and many other factors. It will likely take months or years not days or weeks.
Even though I’m saying you need to be patient to become a marketing success, I’m not saying that you should not move quickly and do a lot. You need to constantly be creating content, generating demand and building credibility. I’m also not saying that you should launch a campaign and hope for the best. It’s an iterative process and you need to be constantly measuring and tweaking the campaign to increase its effectiveness.
Plus, you should not rest when one campaign is launched but continue to build on the momentum you created with ongoing initiatives. It’s an process and one activity builds on the other. And, you can’t even stop when you have that customer as you want to leverage the win to get more and sell more. That’s why the new integrated marketing approach I outlined recently is crucial to your success.
Your marketing success, even your overall success, is a long term game so prepare for the ride. Anyone that tells you differently, is forgetting the past as there really are no short cuts.