It’s mid-year, and most New year’s resolutions have already gone by the wayside. Studies show that one of the reasons we don’t achieve those January goals is that we tend to set unrealistic targets. They’re so daunting that it’s easy to lose motivation.
When you want to stop smoking cold turkey or lose 100 pounds or have a book written by the end of February, it’s easy just to give up if you slip a time or two.
Instead, those who resolved to do at least one 30-second plank, one sit-up, reduce their cigarette consumption by one cigarette a day, or put away a single dollar in a savings jar are much more likely to be successful in the long run.
Marketing is no different.
If you kicked off the year with an overly ambitious marketing plan and you’ve already hung it up because you couldn’t keep up, don’t throw in the towel. You just need to back off from your goals a little bit and add new tactics, layer by layer.
There are a few isms that threaten our ability to execute a marketing plan. If your marketing is feeling more like a weight around your neck than smooth sailing, perhaps one of these is to blame.
All or nothingism: This is the New Year’s resolution challenge. You create an elaborate marketing plan that would take a team of 10 to launch and maintain, and since you can’t pull that off, you pull the plug.
The fix: Identify the one marketing tactic that you feel confident you can sustain all year. It might be a weekly blog post or even a Sunday night tweet. No matter how small, commit to doing that for a month. When that becomes super easy and a habit that you never miss, add another tactic. Consistency outweighs sporadic quantity every time.
Perfection paralysism: Most marketers fall victim to this ism now and again. It’s why it takes you two years to update your website, or you never get that newsletter launched. You can’t quite pull the trigger to go live because it isn’t pristine.
The fix: No marketing tactic or tool is ever done today. Even an e-book or white paper needs updating. And that’s certainly true for more dynamic marketing tools like a website. You need to get past the idea that your marketing needs to be perfect. Your goal should be a minimum viable option, and then once it’s out in the world, you can keep improving it.
The calendar conundrumism: Much like diets, we seem to think marketing tactics should always be started on a Monday or the top of the month. We act like day traders, waiting for the perfect moment. Which means we wait.
The fix: Don’t let arbitrary moments dictate your marketing calendar. If you’ve produced something that you know your prospects and clients would benefit from, release it into the world. I’m not suggesting you don’t have a marketing plan, complete with a timeline. But don’t let it get in your way.
As marketers, we have plenty of external hurdles we need to clear. We need to avoid adding obstacles of our own creation to the mix. The good news about these isms is that we can remove them as quickly as we allowed them to form. The common denominator in the fixes is taking action. If you find yourself stuck because of one of these self-imposed beliefs, remember that the escape is to keep moving.
One of the truths about marketing in 2021 is that nothing is permanent anymore. Everything evolves or gets swapped out. So unless you’re shooting a Super Bowl spot, don’t get in your own way more than necessary.
This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record, as one of Drew’s weekly columns.