Failed to Meet Your Quarterly Marketing Goals? Do These Three Things
The first quarter of 2018 has passed without extraordinary stories of success from entrepreneurs (or much weren’t covered in the news), but tech giants -Facebook, Amazon, Apple- continue to evidently make big waves and rake in billions of dollars. Predictably, some projections show these companies are right on their way to making bigger profits in months to come- much bigger. And this makes one fear if small companies are going to get smaller profits, as is the case with “rich people get richer and the poor get poorer.”
That may sound like a stale economic cliché, but it is also true in business, since both big and small companies share the same ecosystem and ultimately sell to its very same inhabitants. Irrespective of what you sell, if your business must rise from relegation, you must begin by setting small marketing goals and meeting them. Failure to meet them might wreak much havoc on your business, from unsettling your investors to dampening your employees’ morale and even warping your long-term goals. But if you failed once or more than once, it doesn’t mean you should continue to. In this piece I proffer three auspicious ways to enable you turn the tide of failure and begin meeting your marketing goals, every time.
1. Focus only on what’s immediate
The marketing goals of a new business are achieved (or missed) based on trial and error approach, but much older businesses have a solid knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Knowledge implies certainty, but it’s a competitive advantage not available for everyone yet. It takes time to gain knowledge. For all sizes of business, however, goals must align, not only with the business developmental stage, but also with other factors such as external environment (change in policy, inflation, political transition, etc). A business in its first year, for example, may need to focus on survival more than it should on maximising profits, as we already know that the longer a business survives, the better its chances of lasting long.
By the same token, sales metrics in the beginning of a business should not be blank. For one thing, you need sales to ensure that your product can be used to the desired purpose and there is no better way to confirm that than through the feedback from your buyers.
So, what are you to do? One thing only: give priority only to what should be immediate. At the very beginning of your business year, you already set your marketing target for the year. But breaking it down may be necessary now. Say your marketing goal is to sell 120 products by the end of the year; don’t approach it by planning to sell 10 products in each month (especially if that’s what you’ve been doing.) That may overwhelm you. Instead, target to sell five in the first month, then move to eight in the coming month, and then move to 15. If you succeed, you already know what works and you can jump from there, to targeting 30 sales in a month.
While you do this, be sure other goals don’t compete with it until you reach a level of success.
2. Overhaul everything you copied from others
“Copying lies at the heart of creativity,” says Mark Earls in his book Copy, Copy, Copy: How to Do Smarter Marketing by Using Other People’s Ideas.
It’s neither strange nor shameful to borrow marketing ideas from others. Almost every thriving idea today owes its origin to an earlier one. It’s why invention is not the same as innovation. Copying, nevertheless, has its limits. And this reminds me of Peep Laja’s Stop Copying Your Competitors: They Don’t Know What They Are Doing Either piece.
“You’d be surprised by the number of people who actually know their stuff. It’s (maybe!) 5% knowing, and 95% opinions,” he writes. Considering Laja’s experience as a conversion optimization champion and the founder of CXL, you may also agree with me he is in the right position to offer some insight. Your competitors don’t know what they are doing either and even if they do, it’s not a guarantee it will work for you.
What are your options?
You’ve got a model from others, but it’s time you started experimenting to bring out your own. The marketing model you copied from others may look fine on paper, it may even work for them, but when it doesn’t work for you, it certainly means there is an insider knowledge you aren’t aware of. The scope of this piece does not leave much space for stories, but time and time again have proved that the best way to arrive at a solid path of achievement is through consistent experimentation. As author Ryan Holiday says, “If you ask most smart and successful people where they learned their craft, they will not talk to you about their time in school. It’s always a mentor, a particular transformative job or a period of experimentation or trial and error.”
I’m under no illusion as to why you are reading this. You need a quick fix to this problem, and experimentation, by its very nature, seems counterintuitive. I wish I could give you a hack, but there isn’t. At the heart of a successful marketing strategy, lies the fact that no business is like the other. Don’t stop until you find that unique approach for your own business.
3. Identify your hindrances before moving ahead
We try as much as possible not to cite excuses for our failure. Why? Because we know it as a rule of thumb that excuses, no matter how relatable, do not justify failure. But avoiding excuses, as admirable a character as it is, is not the same as ignoring everyday real problems.
Forget what motivational speakers might have told you about ignoring your challenges and rise beyond them. If you do, it would backfire because he who ignores his obstacles never learns how to remove them. Remember The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday. You cannot uproot them if you don’t understand them. Contrary to what some philosophers would have you believe, most problems are not product of your imagination. Ask those who once lived in a war zone.
Now as a business owner, what problems could be stopping you from meeting your marketing goals? It could be internal factors such as hiring the right talents, ensuring effective team work or it could be financial hurdles. And it could be external factors such as emergence of a new technology which directly impacts your business.
In either case, you need to identify them if you must get past them.
Related: Sales Excellence In Five Steps