Welcome to 2014. A shiny new working year. January is often a time when business owners approach their marketing activity with renewed enthusiasm, promising that this is the year they’ll really crack it.

If you’ve made marketing a New Year’s resolution for your business, let me make some comparisons that might ring a bell. Over the next three days, I’m going to show you how much effective marketing is like getting, and staying, fit.

1. It is hard to change the habits of a lifetime

If you’ve got into a groove with how you find and win business, maybe through cold-calling, mass mailing, or personal selling, moving to a more consistent marketing-led approach can be tough. It’s moving from a quick-win mentality to a focus on long-term (and sustainable) results. This is like ditching the booze, taking up running, and eating a healthy-balanced diet… if these things are new to you, it’s hard to suddenly start doing them overnight. This is why we always recommend starting with something manageable, then building up gradually. Like, a weekly blog post to start with, building up to a weekly blog plus quarterly paper and event. This is like starting with 4 press-ups, then 8, then 12, etc.

2. If things have gone to seed, you’ll need to put in some groundwork

If you’ve developed some sloth-like habits and piled on more than a few extra pounds, running a marathon would be seriously hard work. And, if your website is ancient, your brand is a mish-mash, and your products are more than a little flabby… doubling turnover would be a tall order. Taking time to review your current marketing operation, identifying where changes need to be made, and accepting that you’ll need to dig deep (in money and energy) to get into shape first, is essential to long term success. What this often means is that you may need to do some unpicking, and make a time investment, before you see any results at all.

3. A regular, structured, approach is best

Yo-Yo diets don’t work. They mess with your metabolism, knock your confidence, and play havoc with your motivation. Boom and bust marketing is about as good for your business health. Stopping and starting means that you never really get good at it, and if there are prolonged periods of inactivity, you’ll have to forgive people for forgetting about you. Little and often is much, much, better. Showing up frequently enough to stay on people’s radar.

But, simply showing up isn’t enough. This is like vanity fitness… you know, all muscle and no stamina. In marketing terms, this is all awareness activity, and no support for sales conversations or customer loyalty. Like, spending piles of cash getting people to your website, but providing nothing of interest when they get there. You need a mix of marketing tools and techniques mapped against every stage in the buying decision, so that the whole sales journey is supported. It’s the equivalent of a mixed routine at the gym.

I’ll share three more comparisons with you in: Marketing is like fitness (Part 2).

© Bryony Thomas – The Watertight Marketer

Bryony Thomas

Bryony Thomas

Author & Founder, Watertight Marketing

Bryony Thomas is the creator of the multi-award winning  Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in her best-selling book of the same name. She is one of the UK's foremost marketing thinkers, featured by the likes of Forbes, The Guardian, Business Insider and many more, and in-demand speaker for business conferences, in-house sales days and high-level Board strategy days.

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