Keep your eyes on the ball

Despite the craziness of the last 25 months, it’s so easy to allow complacency to sneak into our day-to-day thinking. You’d think after the pandemic and how every organization had to pivot in some way that we’d be on guard and ready to accelerate at the first sign of market erosion or disinterest.

But the truth is that we’re tired. We’ve been pushing nonstop for those 25 months. We’ve been in constant motion and most people are looking for a soft place to land. A place to slow down. It’s so tempting to look at the marketing and communications strategies that are going well and we think, “I can coast on that. We deserve to catch our breath.”

That’s exactly what your competitors want you to think. They want you to ease up. Especially where the work you’re doing is working. That’s actually the very spot where complacency can do the most damage. When we’re getting it right.

As marketers and business leaders, we’re always looking for the next fire to put out. When things are going well, we believe we can move onto the next fire and just be grateful that something is working the way it should. But that lack of attention and protection over what’s working means that it can begin to get tired or expected.

This is why we need to stay vigilant.

I just read a really insightful book called “Be Vigilant!” by Len Herstein. Herstein was a brand marketer for many years and then he launched Brand ManageCamp conferences across the U.S. In one of the most interesting career pivots I’ve ever seen, Len went on to become a reserve deputy sheriff in his hometown to round out his work. In his book, he explores the idea of how both police officers and business leaders must stay vigilant or else they put themselves in harm’s way.

One of the takeaways of the book for me was the realization that it’s where we are most successful that we’re also most at risk. It’s so easy to take our best-selling products or services for granted. When we have a waiting list or people are willing to pay a premium for something – it’s clearly working, so why rock the boat?

That’s the thinking that we’re at risk of giving into. The idea that we have the luxury of taking our foot off the gas is a fallacy. Especially for the products and services that are in high demand. We should be thinking about how we magnify that demand, not just ride the wave.

For the next few weeks, I’m going to focus on areas where we simply, from a marketing and communications point of view, can’t afford to drop the ball. Where we must stay vigilant. Next week we’ll dig into this idea of how do we focus even more on our best performing offers and how do we add even more value so the demand skyrockets in the next year.

I’m not suggesting we don’t slow down and enjoy. But, we can do that and still keep our eye on the ball so we’re set up for a strong and profitable second quarter.

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