“How long will marketing take to start working?” This is a refrain we often hear from new clients recently. It’s understandable because many businesses are trying to stay in front of their audiences and quickly get a return to help recover from 2020. The truth is that marketing takes time to produce results because it’s not a switch you flip on and off; rather, it’s more like an engine you have to get going up to speed slowly.
1. No One Knows Who You Are
One of the primary reasons marketing takes time is that no one knows you when you start marketing. They aren’t familiar with you or your brand or products. Most likely, your brand doesn’t have equity among your target audience online at this point. Often, companies think that their audience will see their marketing online (or wherever), have the need and opportunity to purchase, and buy from them immediately. However, that’s just not true.
As with person-to-person relationships, becoming familiar takes time. You wouldn’t jump right into marriage on the first date. The same applies to developing a relationship with your audience before they become customers.
2. Your Customers Have Different Timelines
The typical customer journey looks like this:
Keep in mind that ‘awareness’ doesn’t mean awareness of your solution; it means awareness of their own need.
Someone may spend a long time evaluating different options (the Consideration stage) before they’re ready to make a decision. Pressuring a sale before a customer is ready to say ‘yes’ can waste time or worse. This hard sales tactic may earn some quick purchases, but if customers aren’t satisfied with their decision, they’re likely to be turned off to your business for the future (or possibly ask for a return).
Marketing effectively meets people where they are in the customer journey and guides them to the next step at their own pace. Your marketing plan should address all the different stages of the customer journey and be flexible enough for someone to drop in and out as necessary. This is especially true for expensive B2B products that have a long sales cycle. On the other hand, some businesses can have a short sales cycle (same-day), and they need to walk clients through the journey quickly.
3. Show Up In More Than One Place
Have you ever seen an ad online for a product or service, perused a website a bit, navigated away, and realize later that you have no idea how to find that company again? Businesses that don’t effectively use their marketing to hold their audience’s attention and turn them into qualified marketing lead end up losing customers. The company might see web traffic coming in through their ads but no conversions.
Instead, a brand can better retain its audience’s attention by showing up in front of them in many different places. This will build familiarity with the company and earn the customer’s trust.
4. Brand Messaging and Visual Identity are Wrong
Poor functionality, lousy design, irrelevant messaging, and an outdated look in your website can distract your audience from considering your solution.
90% of website visitors are there for research purposes only.
This means that users are also looking at competitors’ websites for a solution to their problems. If a competitor’s website looks and works ten times better than yours, customers will likely go back to the competitors when making a purchase decision.
5. You’re Not Optimizing Yor Marketing as it Runs
Marketing is often about experimenting and making adjustments. Testing the channels, messaging, ad placements, branding, and more is crucial to ensure that your marketing maximizes return on investment. Constantly testing and shifting is a long-term process, hence a primary reason why marketing takes time.
Unfortunately, many treat marketing as a ‘set it and forget it’ lever they can let run and revisit next year. The law of diminishing returns states that continuously doing the same thing won’t continue to yield the same results. To optimize your marketing (and marketing budget), it’s vital to course-correct as you go.
The Bottom Line
The longer you take to start marketing, the longer it takes to start working. Don’t waste any time. Get your company or brand in front of the right audience with the right message.
Not sure where to start?
At Hot Dog Marketing, we help businesses clarify their message, discover their appropriate marketing channels, and reach their audience. We have many resources on our website to learn more about marketing.
Are you ready to get strategic marketing the helps your business reach its goals? Don’t wait, contact Hot Dog Marketing to get started.
Tom Snyder is a business-minded writer creating compelling content that helps business owners understand the digital side of their business and engage with their audience. Constantly intrigued by learning new things, he is fascinated with tech, business, and sci-fi. In his spare time, you can find Tom building his own business (coffee roasting) or making music.