Seasoned companies have a deep understanding and appreciation for marketing. Take McDonald’s for example. McDonald’s is one of the most recognized brands in the world, but they nevertheless spend billions of dollars every year on their marketing efforts. On the other side of the spectrum, startups view marketing as a matter of survival, not theory: because without marketing, their business will disappear if they don’t invest in it.
However, between these two extremes, an interesting thing often happens: companies let things slide and forget about marketing. Even worse, some companies stop marketing altogether. A successful marketing strategy is one that is constantly changing and adapting to trends and customer needs. Thus, a successful on hold message strategy is also one that should constantly be evolving.
Marketing is food, not medicine
Inexperienced companies regard marketing as medicine to be taken when something is wrong. (“Not enough customers? Take some marketing and call me in the morning.”)
This is completely wrong-headed thinking, and it’s one of the reasons so many otherwise successful businesses wind up failing. They get used to feeling busy…until they realize it’s too late to start what they should have been doing all along.
Marketing is food. It’s the regular, sustained nourishment that gets your business where you want it—and keeps it there. You need it throughout the day, every day.
Peter Drucker, one of the leading experts on management theory, wrote:
Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.
He also wrote:
Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is from the customer’s point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must therefore permeate all areas of the enterprise.
This perspective is what keeps Fortune 500 companies so intense about sustained, well-funded marketing—even when they’re already successful by any measure.
While inexperienced businesses wait until they’re starving to start looking for nourishment, these savvy enterprises eat regular, healthy meals throughout the day, keeping them strong and thriving year after year with fresh, timely, updated on hold messaging.
Successful companies never stop marketing
Here are four common-sense reasons why the most successful companies in the world engage in vigorous, ongoing on hold message marketing efforts:
- Ongoing marketing prevents “reputation rot”: If you surveyed everyone who’s heard about your company, you’d probably find that their understanding of who you are and what you do is out of date by at least a few years. Your company is constantly improving, but people’s perceptions tend to remain fixed. Every year that passes brings them further and further out of sync, until hardly anyone actually understands what your company has become. It takes years to shape and define your reputation, so you need to be doing it all the time. You can’t wait until it’s hopelessly out of sync, and only then start the arduous process of convincing everyone you’ve changed. (If you do, you’ll never make it to the other side.)
- Ongoing marketing shapes your customer base: As your company evolves, your company will need to target different audiences. Sometimes your focus changes only slightly, and other times you have to start with a completely new customer base. Either way, you need to be constantly evaluating your target and adjusting your messaging, visuals, and strategy accordingly.
- Ongoing marketing gives you lots of options: Having “just enough” business isn’t enough. If you’re actively marketing, there should always be more demand for your offering than you can actually meet. This gives you the option to pick and choose your customers, to focus on the most profitable (or most enjoyable) ones, and to have a waiting list ready for when times get slower.
- Ongoing marketing secures your company’s future: The single most important reason for engaging in active, ongoing marketing is simply that it secures your company’s future. Marketing creates business. You may have lots going on right now, but will it still be there in six months? A year? Three years? Savvy business owners don’t leave their future up to chance; they’re planting seeds now they can harvest next season.
3 Bad reasons why companys’ let their on hold marketing get stale.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all seen when someone doesn’t know how to let something go. Whether it’s that hairstyle that was trendy a decade ago, an unfortunate pair of jeans we think looks great or even a bad relationship we just don’t know when to walk away from. Whether we’re afraid of change or just don’t know when to move on, we’ve all gotten into habits we don’t always know how to break. The same can be said for how some businesses, big and small, approach their marketing. To help you avoid making some common mistakes, here is are 3 reasons companies let their marketing become outdated.
1. It’s Working….Right Now
It’s hard to wonder why you should shift gears if what you’re doing is working. The answer is, you don’t have to…yet. Just like that haircut you had in high school, even though something is working now it doesn’t mean it will a year from now. To avoid being reactionary in the future start planning now. Look at what’s working for you and what might not be and try to understand why. Take the good and start thinking about how you can evolve it. Lay out where you want your business to be in the next 6 months, 1 year and so on. Does your current marketing help you reach that goal? If not, you need to start to plan for how you will adjust for the future.
When you’re comfortable in your current ways it’s easy to make excuses to avoid making changes. You like your style and messaging. It’s worked for you to this point. Why would you expect it not to in the future? Getting too complacent can be a real hindrance, even if you don’t know it yet.
When you start making excuses or assumptions based on your own fear of change or avoidance of taking on more work it means you aren’t paying enough attention to what’s going on in the world around you. Don’t avoid evolving because you’re too complacent with where you ar
3. Not Knowing What’s Next
Some companies end up with stale marketing because they simply don’t know what’s next for the business. This is different than just being complacent or lazy. It’s knowing you need to evolve, but not knowing how. Going in circles vs. going forward is never going to lead to growth. If you’re in this place, bring in an outside perspective. Whether it’s a consultant, a new hire or a survey of your customers. Get a fresh set of eyes on what you’re doing and quite often it can lead to new inspiration for where to take your business and your marketing next.
If your company currently has lots of work, happy customers, and a busy staff, then you’ve successfully achieved a key milestone in the life of a business: viability. This isn’t the end of your journey, though, but the beginning — and marketing will be your constant companion at every step you take from here on out.
No matter what the reason may be, you can absolutely avoid having your marketing go stale. Be aware, think ahead and don’t be afraid to get new opinions. It’s much simpler to be ahead of the game then to be in a reactionary position.
A marketing plan that outdated quickly loses its effectiveness. Take the time to routinely go through your plan and make sure that your strategy is kept current. Many businesses make the mistake of over-planning up front and never looking at their plan again. Instead, you should learn to frame your plan as an ongoing development that needs to be revised regularly.
If you need help evaluating your current on hold marketing strategy or campaigns, contact Original On Hold and speak with our creative team today, for a no obligation consultation.