What makes one marketing campaign persevere through tough circumstances while others fall to pieces?
The question is an important topic.
First, we live in a world where there is constant downsizing, rightsizing and capsizing. Resilience is and will be the differentiator in handling what comes our way. Second, success in marketing depends on more than your ability to learn quickly and easily. Resilience is the differentiator.
It’s a great asset to have a certain amount of IQ, social intelligence, good looks and physical health, but the characteristic that keeps rising to the top is resilience, the passion and perseverance for long-term success.
So the question is not primarily, “How high is your IQ?” According to Angela Duckworth, an academic, psychologist and best-selling author, the question should be, “Who is successful here, and why?”
What we don’t know is how to teach grit and keep folks motivated for the long run. What we do know is that talent is not what makes one gritty.
Businesses and marketing plans with grit display some common traits. Here are five we should be emulating:
1. Keep the end in mind.
Small goals are good, but the big picture keeps you energized and galvanized. Having “the big win” in mind fuels your resilience when the daily grind starts to wear you down. Begin with the end in mind and keep envisioning the big picture. This will increase your ability to persevere. What goals do you have when you enter a marketing campaign? What is the investment going to accomplish for you? Lots of businesses just start with I want more leads… but what are those leads going to accomplish? Something specific and measurable. Something like: Next year, I want X% of my revenue to come from this part of my business.
2. Dump the distractions.
Sometimes our ability to persevere is not directly a resilience issue as much as it is a distraction issue. The extra stuff can do a number on our “grit meter.” Too many outings, hobbies, meetings and projects dull our determination. Eliminating the extraneous conversely strengthens our resilience. It’s good to quit the lesser so we won’t quit the greater. In marketing, sometimes we try to get all the leads from everywhere. But if we find an efficient lead source, dig down to the bottom of that barrel. Diversification in marketing is not always a good investment.
3. See your plan as resilient.
This is about our thinking style. All of us have developed thinking habits that impact the way we see ourselves, our world and our future. These thinking styles can be beneficial. The shadow side is that they can lead us astray by misinforming us about what’s going on. It gets amplified during high levels of stress, uncertainty and ambiguity. Some of these beliefs are limiting. Understanding the positive and negative implications of your thinking will help you see yourself differently when you are tempted to quit. Your accuracy and flexibility increases and helps you generate more solutions.
This is where excellent reporting comes into play. If you are making decisions based on hard facts of your marketing and not gut feelings, you are able to set parameters that define success and failure. What does your reporting tell you? Are your cost per lead goals being met? How are you measuring brand recognition? What are your thresholds for success? Knowing your plan and keeping a resilient mental image about the facts will help in your staying power.
4. Have a growth mindset.
If you are not growing you’re dying. Nothing stays stagnant for long. This is more true today with global and economic challenges than ever before. With a growth mindset, you are more likely to persevere when you encounter a failure. We all need to understand that failure is not a permanent condition. However, positive forward momentum can carry you a long way. The hardest part of a marketing campaign is getting it up and running. Once it’s generating results maintaining those results becomes gradually easier.
5. Put things in perspective.
It’s just marketing. There will be hurdles you must overcome. Catastrophizing creates a vicious trap. It increases anxiety, which in turn decreases our ability to work through challenges we face. It dumbs us down. What if we could spend less time worrying by reducing anxiety? Worst-case scenarios and fears are not easy things to ignore, but resilient business people write them down; now they can deal with them realistically and prudently.
The world is getting more turbulent, and our grit will be tested. What will you do to adapt, survive and thrive? As we come into 3Q and start annual planning season, how can Branding Iron help you build a more resilient marketing plan for your business? Call us today.