Facts vs. Feelings

I serve on the board of directors for a local health services organization serving seniors, many of who have memory loss. In a number of board meetings we have heard about a focus on validating feelings rather than fact-based responses.

A practical example of this is a resident who asks frequently about the time. The fact-based answer is that it is 2:15, 2:20, 2:22…. providing the exact time whenever the resident asks. The validation method focuses on why the person is concerned about the time. For example: “Jane, you seem worried about the time. Should you be doing something?” The resident may respond that she has to make dinner for her husband because he will be home from work soon. To which the caregiver might say, “Jane, your husband doesn’t work anymore and your dinner is being cooked right now.” This addresses the feelings behind the questioning.

I thought about this concept in the context of marketing and how we marketers sometimes focus on facts without understanding the feelings of customers or prospects. We think that rattling off specifications and statistics (features) is going to convince everyone that our product or service is the best choice. We never quite get to translating those facts to a benefit that connects with the buyer’s feelings. How do buyers feel when they use the product or interact with the company?

I have an iron that worked very well, but shortly after the warranty expired I began having problems with it leaking intermittently. The iron was fairly expensive (for an iron) and every time it leaks I feel frustrated and ripped off. On the other hand I have a nice car that is now 12 years old. It has never given me any problems and other than parking-lot dings and scratches from kids getting toys out of the garage, it looks pretty good. I love driving it! In fact, we bought the same make for my wife when her previous car (a different make) reached 170,000 miles.

You also see this fact vs. feeling tension when you deal with customer service. I have a problem and am unhappy. The customer service rep tries to explain everything in logical, fact-based terms. I don’t want to hear it. I’m ticked and I want him or her to know it. The best approach? Hear me out and then say “I can see why you’re unhappy. What can I do to fix this situation?”. The rep heard and didn’t try to discredit my feelings with facts and he/she put the ball in my court to offer a solution that would satisfy me.

In the end, a decision to buy a product is often as much an emotional decision as a logical decision. Is there really that much difference between the features of two cars in a given class? Probably not. But a buyer may have very different feelings about the cars based on what people tell him/her about the model, who he/she knows who drives the car, the salesperson’s approach and, yes, even the images the manufacturers use to advertise the cars.

There is even more bias toward fact-based marketing in B2B because marketers often think every business decision is a logical choice. But we need to understand the buyer’s feelings, even if that emotion is fear about making a bad choice. When we have a clear picture of the feelings we want the buyer to have and the feelings we need to overcome, we are in a much better position.

Brands, Branding and Marketing

The topic of Branding vs. Marketing a few weeks back generated a lot of discussion on LinkedIn groups (all very civil, thank you).  The discussions provided a lot of food for thought about brands, branding and marketing—the distinctions, intersections and overlaps.  I am thinking specifically about these subjects in terms of start-up companies.

Let’s start with definitions for these areas as it may help in sorting out the topics (I’ll be using the word “product” to reflect both products and services):

Brand – The place your company or product holds in the minds of customers and prospects based on the value they perceive.

Branding – The steps a company takes in determining what it wants the brand to be in the mind of customers and prospects and the actions it must take, internally and externally, to increase the likelihood customers and prospects will have those desired perceptions.

Marketing – The actions required to develop a product, bring it to market and convince prospects to purchase or customers to repurchase.  It is the broad scope of the 4Ps (Product, Price, Promotion, Place), rather than just the elements often handled by a Marketing Department.

There is clearly overlap between these areas.  In branding, a company needs to understand the perceptions customers and prospects have to determine if those are the perceptions it wants them to have and, if not, what it needs to do to change those perceptions.  Marketing is critical to branding because it is the area where customers and prospects have the most contact with the company and its products.

In the case of start-ups, I have been thinking about what comes first, branding or marketing (there is no brand because no one is aware of the company or its products).  This is more than a chicken-and-egg argument, as some LinkedIn group members stated.  It has real implications for the future of the start-up’s brand and how it markets its products.

Does the entrepreneur start his or her company with the premise of marketing a product?  Or does he or she start the company with the idea of creating a specific brand in the mind of customers and prospects?  If starting with a product or service, does the company “back into” a brand and does that limit the ability to build the brand beyond the initial product, which might require creating new brands for diverse products (the Proctor & Gamble model of a stable of product brands none of them commonly connected to P&G)?  In this approach, there is no leverage from the company name and considerable expense is required to establish and sustain each brand.

If starting with a perception the entrepreneur wants to create in the mind of customers and prospects, the company might put its focus on delivering a variety of products that create and reinforce that brand (this might be more of the Apple model of bringing to market a series of products all with the Apple name).  The limitation of this approach is that all products must align with the brand that is created or it creates confusion for the customer or prospect.

Neither approach is right or wrong, and I suppose most companies start with the single product focus.  But those of us who have tried to change customers’ perceptions of a brand know it can be very difficult to do this once the customer has fixated on the brand. Entrepreneurs in pre-launch or early phases of product roll out might want to consider the ramifications of leading with a product that may limit the brand in the future.

 

Never Give Up and Never Let Up

I am not a fan of sports as a metaphor for business, but the end of a football game I watched last Sunday was so compelling (actually, it was pretty unbelievable), I can’t resist using a sports theme just this one time.

The game was the New Orleans Saints against the New England Patriots and featured two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Drew Brees with the Saints and Tom Brady with the Patriots.  I tuned in after the Saints kicked a field goal giving them a four-point lead, which meant that the Patriots had to score a touchdown.  With over three minutes on the clock, it was not an impossible situation.

But on the first play after the kick-off Brady threw an uncharacteristic interception and it looked like the game was over.  The Patriots had no timeouts left so the Saints just had to get a first down and they could run out the clock.  But two running plays netted nothing and then Brees was sacked on a third down pass attempt.  They punted to the Patriots and, with 1:13 remaining in the game, Brady marched his team 70 yards in 8 plays for a touchdown with 5 seconds to spare.  Patriots win 30 – 27.

Business/marketing lesson: You have to keep up the pressure when you’re in front.  The Saints played it a bit too conservative and were so predictable that the Patriots stopped them on the last two series. There is a natural tendency to play it safe when you are in the lead, but that is the last thing you want to do. Marketers sometimes fall into this trap by just continuing what has worked in the past, not noticing the changes going on in the market or they see what is happening and think their company is immune to the market forces at work.  Like the Saints, they play it safe by trying not to make a mistake.  Even sometimes abandoning the ability to innovation that made them a leader in the first place.  Rod Laver, the legendary Australian tennis player said it best: “The time your game is most vulnerable is when you’re ahead.  Never let up.”

This is especially true when you face formidable competitors that have proven they can come through in the clutch.  Bill Belichick, the coach of the Patriots, understood this well in 2009 when his team faced the Indianapolis Colts, quarterbacked by Peyton Manning.  On a fourth down and holding a 6-point lead, Belichick went for first down at the Patriots 28-yard line, rather than punt to the Colts.  He determined his defense could not prevent Manning from leading the Cols to a touchdown that would win the game.  The play came up short and Manning led the Colts to the game-winning touchdown.

This also shows the difference between giving up and letting up.  In giving up, you walk away from the game, you leave the field, you quit.  Very few companies do this (unless forced to financially).  But many let up by not pushing hard when they have the advantage.  When they’re the underdog or in second they compete tough.  When I was with AIG earlier in my career, there was always the sense we were the underdog competing with larger, more-established companies.  Even as the company grew larger than some competitors or those companies disappeared, the chip-on-the-shoulder mentality was still there.  It never let up and pushed us all to compete harder and harder, even when we were winning.  Yes, it was a tough environment, but it kept the company growing and winning.

B2B Self-Education – Jumping the Buying Process

Following up on my last blog post about the trend of B2B buyers to self-educate rather than rely on suppliers’ salespeople for information, I saw two interesting statistics from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) this week.

The first is that B2B buyers, on average, are more than half way through (57% to be precise, according to CEB) the buying process before they make contact with suppliers.  This puts buyers beyond defining their needs and well into assessing options to meet those needs before suppliers even know about it.  In traditional sales models, a supplier’s sales people were at the table to help the buyer define needs and could often influence those needs in favor of the supplier’s products or services.  Not any longer.  B2B buyers have already decided what they need, investigated suppliers that can meet those needs and are calling in a few suppliers to get proposals or quotes, check references, etc.

I stated last week that this puts more pressure on the marketing department to educate prospects with various communications vehicles so the company can stay in the hunt they may not even know is happening.  In some LinkedIn groups where I posted last week there was discussion about the best process to help educate prospects and the virtues of ungated vs. gated content (having buyers give at least an email address to access information).  The CEB study seems to indicate that today’s B2B prospects are not going to unveil their or their companies’ identities until they are ready to speak with suppliers.

The CEB study also indicates that marketing-department-created information is going to have less opportunity to educate buyers because buyers are getting less information from suppliers and more from non-supplier sources.  The study says that suppliers now account for less than one-half of all the information buyers use in their buying decisions.  The study did not say what these non-supplier sources of information are (guess you have to be a paying customer to get that) but by process of elimination I would include all non-supplier produced or controlled information, including articles in the trade and business press, peer-to-peer social media and networking communications, referrals from trusted sources, independent customer-satisfaction ratings.  Basically any information the buyer thinks has been vetted or provided by an objective third-party.

Of course, this assumes the supplier is sitting back waiting for the buyer to define its needs and then reacting through education.  Many of the most effective B2B companies jump the buying process by a combined marketing and sales approach that educates the buyer about a problem that the buyer may be suffering from and may not know about.  The problem is costing the company money, customers, key employees, etc.  By framing the cost of the problem and its unique solution to the problem, the supplier is changing the buying process, positioning itself to limit competition and usually reducing the length of the sales process.

 

 

Self-Education and Lengthening Sales Cycles in B2B

I have been following two interesting trends in the B2B world.  First is the lengthening sales cycle and the second is the increasing tendency of B2B buyers to self-educate, often not even talking to a sales person until late in the buying process.

Let’s look at the lengthening sales cycle first.  According to a survey by B2B magazine and Bizo in April of this year, 43% of B2B companies reported the sales cycle has lengthened significantly or somewhat.   There is a number of possible reasons for this including the need to get buy in from more people in the company, fewer staff to do the actual research and evaluation, fear of making a mistake and tighter budgets.

The trend of more self-education may also be contributing to the lengthening sales cycle.  Because the buyer and his/her staff are doing more research than in the past, they have to find time to do this while managing with smaller staffs.

This movement to self-education has real ramifications for B2B marketers.  Since the sales group will not learn about the buyer and the specifics of his/her situation until late in the game, the company’s marketing must work much harder to educate the buyer and keep him or her engaged.  If it doesn’t, the company might not make it to a short list of possible solution providers.

Another ramification of the self-education trend is deciding when the time is right for the sales group to try to engage the prospect.   The classic B2b model is to get the prospect’s name and contact information into the hands of a salesperson as quickly as possible.  So if the prospect requested a white paper on a web site, the next day a salesperson contacts the prospect and asks for a convenient time to call to learn more about what the prospect is looking for so the sales person can help.

In the new paradigm, this approach is probably not going to help, and it could be damaging to the potential sale by annoying the prospect.  If the salesperson prides himself or herself on tenacity, the prospect will eventually totally disengage and take the company company off the consideration list.  More than likely, this will show up on the sales report as a bad lead or that the opportunity was lost to a competitor with lower prices.

This means marketers must provide a great deal of content to give the prospect the information needed to consider the company’s products or services.  This information can come from white papers, industry presentations, webinars, videos, social media, cased studies, testimonials, discussion groups – basically wherever and however a prospect might search for information.   At every action point, the prospect should be given the opportunity to engage with a content expert.  If that happens, it is an opportunity to learn more about the prospect’s needs.  Don’t automatically dump it to a salesperson to start birddogging.  With proper training and systems, the content expert can work behind the scenes to determine the right time to engage the sales group.

A while back I wrote about thinking about the buying cycle (how the prospect wants to buy) rather than the sales cycle (how the company wants to sell) because the buyer is the one in the driver’s seat.  The self-educated prospect is a key ingredient in the buying cycle and possibly the lengthening sales cycle.

 

The Value of a Brand

Being a brand geek, I was naturally drawn to the headline of a LinkedIn post by David Edelman, a McKinsey partner in the firm’s Digital Marketing Strategy practice. The title of the article was “What’s Your Brand Worth?”  and I found it intriguing because it is something every marketing executive (as well as CEOs, CFOs and others) wants to know. I found Edelman’s answers to the question a little disappointing.

First the article stated: “We know that strong brands with good reputations have 31% better total return to shareholders than the MSCI World average.” (The MSCI is an index of about 1,600 world or global stocks used as a benchmark. Turns out it is really not “world” because it only counts markets in developed countries and excludes emerging markets.) The article does not explain what the measure of “good reputations” is. I am not arguing that companies with strong reputations wouldn’t and shouldn’t beat indexes containing large groups of companies, but if the 31% better total return to shareholders is an average, it could be 10% for one company and 50% for another. And return to shareholders can be influenced by a number of factors including operational efficiency, low debt, general market trends, etc. So this was not very helpful in telling me what an individual brand is worth.

The other evidence given that strong brands have value was the recent bidding war for Steinway, the famous maker of pianos. Edelman said the sale price of the company was bid up because of its strong brand. Sure, something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. But because a suitor is willing to bid 20% more than anyone else, does that mean the brand is worth 20% more? Not sure about that. Maybe it is just an over-eager investor. The other problem with waiting until a company sells is that it is hard to separate what part of goodwill is the brand versus what is other intangibles such as distribution channels. So it is not a simple accounting calculation of subtracting tangible assets from the sale price to derive the value of the brand.

While Edelman’s article looked at the value of a brand at a macro level,
I think it is interesting to look at it from a micro level. One aspect of brand value is how much more a customer is willing to pay for your product or service than similar products or services from your competitors. This indicates they perceive greater value in your product or service, which could be attributed to the brand. Another measure is how often customers buy your product or service compared to similar products or services from competitors when your prices are about equal. Does your brand tip the scale in favor of repeat purchases?

There are many ideas for trying to measure the value of a brand. All seem to have limitations that defy nailing an exact number for the value of a brand.  Companies with strong brands know what they have (even if they can’t fully measure it) and protect that competitive advantage at all costs.

The Day-After-Labor-Day Syndrome

When I was the manager/director/vice president/head of marketing for B2B companies, the day after Labor Day was often a crazy day.  Why? I frequently had sales executives call because the year was two-thirds over and they had only one-third to one-half of their sales goal on the books.  The conversation went something like this:

Sales Executive: We need some marketing help so we can bring in the year on plan.

Me:  Sure, how much do you need in sales to make plan (I already knew this because I had the projected sales numbers through August).

Sales Executive:  Um, we’re at about $25 million through August ((an exaggeration: more like $23 million and change, according to the August report)).

Me: What does your pipeline look like?

Sales Executive:  We have some great prospects.

Me:  Great, what are you projecting you’ll sell to them by year end?

Sales Executive: Best case scenario: $25 million, conservative estimate: $20 million

Me: What about current clients?

Sales Executive:  We’ve been pushing hard on some project extensions and a few clients traditionally buy additional product to use their budget before year end.  I think we’ll do another $25 million with current clients.

Me:  Okay.  So you’re projecting $70 – $75 million from all known sources to meet a $100 million sales plan.  You expect to sell an additional $25 – $30 million to people you don’t even know within four months?  And our average time from initial prospect contact to billing is eight-plus months?  Buddy, you’re screwed!

I never said the last part, but I often wanted to.  Instead, I played the good corporate soldier and set up a meeting to start working on marketing plans, knowing full well that most of what we did would not pay off until the next year.  Mind you this was often the same sales executive I had been trying to meet with since early in the year.  He never had time, cancelled meetings or left messages that they were having a great year and wouldn’t need any marketing help.  When some of those hoped for deals didn’t happen it was summer and they had a hard time getting any traction with prospects in the pipeline.  So I viewed the marketing planning meeting that happened in September as getting a jump on first-half sales for next year.  Besides, if I had some secret formula for going from marketing planning to converted sale in three or four months, wouldn’t we be using it all year?

Our September meeting focused on plans to close as many pipeline deals as possible.  By segmenting the pipeline prospects as high, medium and low probability of conversion, we put plans in place for each prospect in the high and medium probability segments.  We didn’t want to put all our energy into marketing to attract new prospects while letting these high and medium probability prospects wither on the vine.

When we were sure we were doing everything we could to bring in these sales currently in the pipeline, we laid the groundwork for marketing that would start filling the pipeline for the future.  Usually the sales executive learned the lesson that marketing is not a short-term spigot you turn on and off as you need to fill the pipeline.  Instead, marketing is an ongoing process that creates an interest in your products or services so prospects know you can meet their needs or wants.

By the way, the other crazy marketing day of the year was the day after New Year’s Day.  This was the day when everyone came back to work with their new year resolutions, which usually meant dumping a bunch of “to dos” on the marketing department.  At least this was proactive and avoided the dreaded Day-After-Labor-Day Syndrome.

The Branding/Marketing Debate

In a LinkedIn discussion group last week, a person responding to my post about why nothing is easy in branding and marketing asked a question about branding being part of marketing. When I responded that it is actually the other way around (marketing is part of branding), he responded that a debate wouldn’t be helpful (I then realized his question was really a statement).

This discussion may come down to semantics and the type of business that is being discussed more than anything.  My definition of a brand is: The place you hold in the minds of customers and prospects based on their perceptions of the value of your products or services.  Given this definition, branding is everything your company does to establish that place in the minds of customers and prospects.  Yes, this includes marketing, but if you are a business-to-business company it can also include sales, customer/technical service, training, accounting—basically any function that interacts with the customer or prospect.  All these functions must be aligned to create a consistent brand.  This is why I believe marketing is just one component of branding in the B2B world.

For a consumer packaged goods company marketing may be equal to branding.  Consider the Four Ps of Marketing (product, price, promotion and place) that are usually the extent of the consumer’s interaction with the company: the product itself, how much the product cost, the ads and other promotions the consumer sees about the product, and how the consumer purchases the product.  Unless they have some problem with the product, most consumers are not going to interact with the company.  So for many packaged goods companies, branding is marketing and marketing is branding.

But even with consumer packaged goods there is a grey area.  Think of all the consumer package goods companies who sponsor some charitable cause and promote that through advertising, web sites, social media and public relations.  This is not part of the product, per se, but is meant to create a perception of the company as caring.  The company is trying to create perceptions that go beyond the perceived value of the product.  I guess it is marketing but not the classic product marketing covered by the Four Ps.

Then there are all those companies that provide products or services to customers that are not consumer packaged goods.  I am thinking about a situation I had over ten years ago.  We were traveling to Cape Cod for vacation at 4:00 a.m. on a Saturday and hit something in the road.  I called Volvo roadside assistance and they said they could send a tow truck, but the car could not be looked at until Monday (goodbye vacation).  We decided to drive for a few miles and see what happened.  The car ran fine, but the air conditioning was knocked out, which was not a lot of fun on a six-hour trip with a newborn and two teenagers on a hot summer day.

Upon arriving in Cape Cod I called Volvo dealers within 150 miles but none could help me (a lesson in how not to treat a customer).  I found a local mechanic who told me to bring the car over.  He examined it, gave me a price and said he could fix it by the end of the week.  I was thrilled.  We made it home with beautiful, cold air in the car, but the next week, I heard a hissing sound from the car.  We took it to our local Volvo dealer who informed us a part had been installed incorrectly and the whole job would have to be redone.  Not very happy, I called the mechanic in Cape Cod, expecting a battle royal.  I was shocked when he told me to fax him the bill from the Volvo dealer and he would send me a check.  When I regained my senses and thanked him, he told me he guaranteed his work and since it was not practical for me to bring the car to him for service, he would pay for the mistake.

I don’t know if I’ll ever need car service when I go to Cape Cod again, but if I do, I’ll take my car to him and I have no hesitation recommending him to others.  Was this marketing?  I guess in the broadest interpretation of product/service, but he went beyond to create an impression and brand I’ll never forget.

 

 

 

3 Easy Steps to Avoid 3 Easy Steps

Every time I see a blog post, article or LinkedIn group discussion about three, five, seven or ten easy steps to branding or some aspect of marketing, I give a laugh or a grunt, depending on what type of day it has been.  As anyone who has responsibility for branding and marketing knows, there is very little that is easy about it.  Sure, coming up with ideas may be easy, but making those ideas happen is a whole different story.   So in the spirit of truth in advertising, here are my 3 easy steps to avoid believing there are easy steps in branding and marketing:

Complexity – A start-up company usually has a small staff and a very limited product or service offering.  Communicating a very specific value proposition is pretty straightforward (or at least it should be).  But as the company grows, it expands its markets, products/services and staff.  This expansion leads to complexity that can water down the value proposition.  The company has to make choices about what it is, what it wants to be and which business units are going to get the resources to achieve that vision.  Since creating an effective brand is more about how the company acts than what it says, as the company grows to dozens, hundreds and thousands of employees, controlling its actions becomes much more complex.

Selling – Branding and marketing are as much an internal job as an external function.  The effective marketer must get internal buy in before launching externally.  This includes “selling” to all levels of the organization that the recommended course of action is the right way to go.  This is incredibly time consuming and often frustrating, as people who may not understand marketing weigh in with changes they want.  But without this commitment, especially from customer-facing groups, the initiative is not likely to achieve its objectives.  And the larger the company, the more difficult the selling (see “Complexity” above).

Change – No matter how successful your branding and marketing have been, changes will happen and your company will have to adjust.  hese can include changing customer tastes and preferences, changing technology, regulatory changes, new competitors, new products/services, pricing pressure, new marketing vehicles, etc.  The list is pretty daunting and your company will have to decide how it responds to these changes.  It is marketers’ job to have their eyes, ears and minds wide open so they can understand what is happening, what it means to their company and what is likely to happen if current trends continue.  They have to live in the present and future.  And they not only have to be open to change but must be at the vanguard of change.  It is a tremendous responsibility, as they sometimes have to move off a position they sold very hard a year or two earlier to move in a new direction.

Once you accept that there are no easy steps to branding and marketing, you can be selective about the initiatives you undertake and realistic about the time and effort that is needed to implement any initiative.  You’ll also be able to explain to your boss (whether the CEO, CMO, VP or Director), why that article about 3 easy steps is dead wrong, why it is more like 57 steps and sub-steps, why you need his/her support to sell internally and why it is going to take 6 weeks or 6 months, not 6 days, until you implement that initiative and maybe a year before you see results.  If you need help with this discussion, just show him or her this article.

 

Don’t Build It Unless You Can Maintain It

I trimmed the wisteria covering the pergola over our patio for about an hour the other day.  I have to do this about every two weeks during the summer or the wisteria grows wild and starts invading the roof on the back of the house. I swear that if you stare at the plant long enough, you can actually see if grow.

We planted the scrawny little three-foot plant in the fall 10 years ago, shortly after the patio and pergola were completed.  We wanted something to shade the patio from the strong afternoon sun on the west-facing patio.  It was a harsh winter and we doubted the plant survived.  Boy, were we wrong!  It survived and then some, growing about eight feet or so every year.  It was great because we had shade, but 10 years later the maintenance it requires is a nuisance and the heavy vines are starting to strain some of the pergola joists.

As I was trimming the wisteria and grumbling to myself, I thought of a conversation I had early last week with a colleague from my Ernst & Young days.  Scott is a great business developer and has just started his own company as an outsourced business development function for professional and business services firms.  It is a tremendous concept and one Scott will excel at because of his skills and his network of contacts.

Scott and I were talking about customer (or client) relationship management (CRM) systems and how companies often get so enamored with everything the software can do that they lose sight of what they really need.  They forget that the more data they collect the more they will have to maintain.  So after spending a lot of time and money to set up the initial CRM system, they find that they will have to dedicate resources on an ongoing basis if they are going to capitalize on the initial investment.  One of the important resources needed is the time and effort of salespeople who are closest to the customer and can pass on new information they learn during sales calls.  If the sales person doesn’t get value out of the system, they are unlikely to be cooperative in contributing to it.

This is not to pick on CRM.  Part of the problem is that companies, and often their marketers, treat many initiatives as projects, instead of the processes that are needed to make the initiative successful.  This problem has only become worse in the last decade or so as companies have moved from one marketing initiative to the next hoping they hit the magic formula to grow the top and bottom lines.  And often we don’t think of what is needed to do something on an ongoing basis.

When I was at a consulting company, one of the consultants wanted to create a newsletter specifically for companies in the auto industry.  We didn’t have the resources to do this on a quarterly basis.  The consultant explained that he came from a long line of newspapermen and he knew what it takes to put out a publication (this is before electronic media made it easy to deliver a newsletter or articles).  Since I could not dissuade him or his manager, I recommended that he do a “soft launch” and not promise a quarterly delivery.  That recommendation went unheeded as well.  The newsletter lasted two issues before the project was abandoned because no one had time for it.

So before you take on the next marketing initiative, ask these questions:

  • Is this a project that will have a discreet end or a process that will need regular maintenance?
  • If the initiative is an ongoing process, what resources will be required?
  • Is the company committed to funding those resources and for how long?
  • Are the expected results worth the required expense over the life of the initiative?

Having clarity around these questions will go a long way in deciding if the initiative is worth pursuing.

 

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