For most business owners, marketing is an “oh sh*t, we better do something” reaction to declining sales numbers. They wait until the work has all but dried up before they get serious about marketing.
They market until they have as much work as they can handle (if the marketing is done well). Then they stop marketing. When that work is just about gone, they start marketing again.
When marketing is done in spurts, the work comes in spurts.
Both are consistently inconsistent. And both are risky and wasteful.
Ongoing Maintenance vs. Playing Catch-Up
There will always be a certain level of volatility in terms of workload, but marketing in spurts makes the peaks higher and the valleys lower. Extreme volatility can be self-inflicted through inconsistent marketing.
How do you establish standard operating processes and maintain proper staffing levels? You have to hire enough people to get you through peak times and watch them sit on their hands during slow times. Or you have to bring in extra help to cover peak times.
Neither is the most efficient or effective solution.
What happens if you wait until things take a nosedive before you get serious about marketing, and the marketing doesn’t meet your expectations?
When you market in spurts and the marketing doesn’t work, you could be forced to bust your marketing budget to compensate. Even worse, you could be forced into cost-cutting measures that affect the quality of service and the customer experience.
Now your marketing and operational decisions are based on fear and desperation, not a carefully planned strategy designed to achieve specific business goals.
Suppose you’re in a race, whether it’s running, swimming or cycling. You’ll burn a lot more energy trying to catch up than you will when maintaining a consistently high level. The same applies to marketing.
Consistent marketing is more predictable and reliable, and less stressful and risky, than stopping and starting, over and over.
Consistent Marketing Reminds People Why You Matter
Marketing isn’t just about finding new business and tattooing your name and value proposition onto the brains of new prospects. It’s about reminding your existing clients and colleagues why they believe in you so they continue to find new business for you.
Never forget these two important facts:
First, 80 percent of referrals come from 20 percent of all sources of referrals.
Second, the human brain is wired to remember things that are recent.
Consistent marketing keeps you top-of-mind with your best referral sources. If you market in spurts, they could easily forget about you and start referring to someone else. That’s a potentially huge chunk of business to lose.
When you market your business week after week, month after month, year after year, you create the impression that you’re always out there. Your business won’t suffer if you take a little time off because you’re consistently bringing in leads.
More than top-of-mind awareness, consistent marketing reinforces your expertise and credibility, builds trust and confidence, and reinforces your brand – all of which will make someone more likely to hand over money for your product or service.
Marketing in Spurts Is Like Going on a Crash Diet
Instead of exercising and making smart food choices on a daily basis, most people latch onto the gimmick diet of the month when they want to look good for vacation or a special event.
Then they gain the weight back and continue the up-and-down, stop-and-start cycle. The results are always temporary.
Somebody who runs a marathon each year doesn’t just train for a couple of months and spend the rest of the year on the couch eating Bon Bons. They run all year and ramp up their training before the big race.
If you want your lawn to stay thick and green, you don’t wait until you see brown spots and flood it with water. You run the sprinkler every day.
Do you wait until your car breaks down before you change the oil? Do you wait until your teeth fall out before you brush?
But enough with the metaphors and analogies. You get the point. I hope.
Just save the rollercoaster ride for the amusement park.
Okay, that was the last one.
Marketing should be done consistently, not in spurts – unless you enjoy rolling the dice with your business, working harder than necessary, and spending more than necessary.
If that’s the case, a run for Congress may be in order.