I’ve always been taught to be decisive. Some of my best early managers were particularly good at taking all available information and making a quick decision.
I learned by example and by my own trial and error, and I’ve always felt that procrastinating and holding back were far worse than making a less than perfect decision. Decisions keep the business moving forward, and forward is always a good thing.
I still feel the same way today. It’s a business leader's job to make decisions, and marketing is all about making good decisions . . . decisions that benefit both your business and your customers.
But there’s a new element to decision-making that has become vitally important to the process, and I’ve adjusted my own decisiveness as a result.
In today’s competitive environment of technology-fueled 24/7 marketing, we also need to be flexible. Gone are the days where we can create business and marketing plans a year ahead of time and expect them to be etched in stone. Sure, planning is a necessity, particularly for long-term vision, positioning and innovation, but just as important is short-term activity. Movement is key, and responsiveness drives movement.
Allow me to explain how flexibility has taken on a pivotal role in decision making.
We’ve never had more business data to shift through. There’s an endless supply of information about our customers, our competitors and our business results . . . so much so that it can be dizzying. The challenge is making it all consumable and actionable.
Then, the minute you make a decision, it’s likely that new data will come along that could change your direction. That’s great because it allows you to correct your course and make sure that you get the results you forecasted. So, don’t look at new data as a source of anxiety and complexity, look at it as an endless stream of insight that will allow you to flexibly change your plan to ensure success.
New data means continued success.
Emerging target audience.
We’ve been talking about the impact of the millennial generation for years, and now it’s happening. As the older group of the generation hit stride in their careers and family lives, they’re driving change as intense as the baby boomers but decidedly different. And, there’s an entirely new generation right behind them that have been digitally native from birth.
Embracing these new customers and giving them what they want requires great flexibility in how we communicate with them. Move flexibly with them to bring them into your brand on their terms, not based on your rigid plans.
Shift in the business model.
Antiquated and inflexible ways of doing business are exiting stage left . . . just look at the number of brick-and-mortar store closing every week. The way we do business has dramatically shifted and anything that isn’t flexible enough for the ride will be left behind.
So, shift your business model as appropriate as well, using your customers and their needs as your guide. Chances are that your old habits won’t work anymore, so flex them to create new ways of driving your business forward. A shift in the business model means a new opportunity for growth.
It's more important to be flexible now than it ever has been. It’s a way of making the right decisions on a daily basis to keep your business prosperous as you gather new information, attract new customers and refresh your business model for continued success.