Persistence: A Marketing Curse or Cure?

Persistence is a necessary part and parcel of running your own business. Without it, you are likely to give up and go back to regular work within a short space of time; most start-ups close in their first year.

Few people get it right first time. Both Walt Disney and Donald Trump along with countless others filed for bankruptcy before making their fortunes.

But is persistency in marketing a good or bad trait?  A curse of a cure?

The answer is it depends.

A typical mistake is not continuing with successful marketing actions. Many companies stumble upon a marketing campaign, approach or channel that works for them. They get busy delivering to the deluge of customers it created but forget to continue the successful marketing action. So a few weeks later, they are back to square one looking for more business and wondering where all the new customers went.

In this case, it is the lack of persistence on a profitable path that causes the problem.

The other side of this is far more frquently encountered and is simply persistence on using marketing that is not profitable. I have seen a great many businesses persist with marketing and advertising campaigns which have not worked in the past, are not working in the present and will never work in the future.

This is a case of:

“It has got to pay off at some point. If I just ran it one more time then I’ll get the results I’ve been hoping for.”.

Compulsive gamblers also have the same viewpoint. Both groups are almost always disappointed.

It is difficult to give up on a campaign that you have worked hard on and invested money in. Some people find it impossible to confront the idea that the cash they have spent on the campaign is gone and that all they are doing now is throwing good money after bad.  It is a bitter pill to swallow but it is better to do it sooner and try another campaign than later when there are no funds left to reboot the marketing or the business.

It is true you can give up on an idea before it has reached fruition. This is why you need to test and test properly on a small sample of your target market.

However, don’t go insisting or hoping that it will all come right when the indicators are that it won’t. Yes, feel free to tweak your campaign but don’t stick rigidly to a failing one.

There is also a third persistence problem; that is persisting with a campaign that used to be successful but now is not. This problem became widespread at the start of the credit crunch and was a significant factor in the downfall of many businesses.

The old adage “If you do what you’ve always done then you’ll get what you’ve always got” does not hold true when the environment in which you operate has changed radically.

It is a dangerous thing to ignore the signs which indicate that a change is required, such as fewer clients, reduced turnover etc. These can all be turned around IF the signs are spotted early enough and the required change is put into action.

I know of several well-established businesses that have disappeared solely because they refused to change.

The easiest way to avoid all of the above problems is to constantly measure the return on your marketing.

If it’s providing good results then stick at it. Don’t be tempted to change a working campaign just for the sake if it or because you’re bored with it. Many successful adverts are still pulling in people years later.

On the other hand, if it is not producing results then either tweak or trash it.  Don’t keep throwing cash at a campaign that is not working.

Finally, don’t assume that because it worked in the past that it will continue to work forever. Keep doing it while it produces results but when the results start drying up look to tweak it or try something new.

The best approach is to test something new on a regular basis so you always stay ahead.


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