Sometimes we get so deep in the weeds trying to figure out what we should do to market our businesses, we forget to actually market the business.
It seems like a rookie mistake; of course you should be marketing your business. But when faced with the task of actually choosing a tactic and making marketing happen, there are so. many. choices. So many things we could do, so many avenues we could go down, and even once we do choose one path, often we are then presented with another round of choices, and another, over and over again. It’s easy to end up with decision paralysis.
How to Know if You’re Stuck
When I say “are you stuck?” do you get a gut reaction of guilt or recognition or acknowledgement? If so, you’re likely stuck.
Do you talk with your team about marketing efforts, but nothing ever gets off the ground? Kicking ideas around is great — lots of ideas are generated and everyone gets to participate, which builds morale and cements your team — but if no one ever makes a decision about which ideas to make into reality, nothing ever gets done. You’re stuck.
Have you added any new marketing initiatives into the mix in the last 6 months? You shouldn’t be trying new tactics too often; marketing needs time to work. But if you haven’t done anything new or different in the recent past, you might be stuck — or you might be right in the groove, doing what works to bring in the business you want. Do you have the business you want, the clients you want? If not, you might be stuck.
How to Get Unstuck
Meet with your team and lay out all the options. Vote on which one seems like the best choice, and then commit to the winner. Before you leave the meeting, assign tasks and set a timetable so everyone knows what they need to do to move the initiative forward. Decide how much time you’ll give the idea to work (likely three months). You can evaluate and tweak the idea during that time (for example, changing audiences for a Facebook ad campaign) but you have to give it time to work before you decide to pull the plug on it or make major changes.
Write each idea on a sticky note and put them on a dart board. Throw a dart and execute whichever idea gets hit first. I’m not saying it’s the most scientific way to get to a decision, but if you’re faced with a bunch of ideas that all seem equally good, a dart is certainly one way to make the choice and move on.
Here’s the trick: PAY ATTENTION to your first, subconscious reaction when you go to the board to see which idea got hit. If you think, “yessss!” then you got the right one. If you think, “awww, I was hoping this other idea would win,” then that other idea is the winner.
Write down all of the possible marketing tactics you could put in play, either on a big piece of paper or on index cards or sticky notes. Lay them all out in front of you and consider them. Pull out the three you’re most excited about, the ones you’re eager to try. Those are your darlings. Now choose the ONE you think is most likely to work, and put that one into practice.
Directors (Board of)
Sometimes you just need to run the possibilities by an outsider and get their take on it, to either confirm your own intuition about what you ought to do or get yourself off the fence. You could turn to a formal board of directors if you have one, or an informal group of peers, or hire a marketing strategy consultant*. Consult someone who can look at your business from 20,000 feet up, someone outside of the day-to-day running of the business, who can advise you on short-term and long-term strategy decisions to keep you moving toward your goals.
We all want to make the best decisions we can for our companies. We have a lot of time, energy and money invested in them; there’s a lot riding on those decisions. Of course it makes sense to treat them with the gravitas they deserve. But at some point, you do have to choose something and go with it.
Because if you do nothing, you’re not attracting any clients or attention. You do want some of both of those things, right?
* If you’re curious about marketing consulting with Tinfish, you can try it out for free. Click here to schedule a free trial session.