2 Main Reasons Business Fail

Jay Conrad Levinson The Father Of Guerrilla Marketing

Jay's 50 year marketing career is unmatched in both power and scope   When he talks about the high rate of business failures, he cites two main reasons, either the business lacked a clear and well-designed strategy from the start, or they didn’t stick with the one they created.  It makes sense that a business without strategy a solid foundation would not succeed, but what is it about commitment to a plan that’s so important?

In today's fast paced world people often grow impatient. In marketing when results don’t happen fast enough people get scared.  When people get scared they panic.  In desperation they frequently radically alter or scrap their marketing before it’s even had a chance to work.   

This Is The Thing - at its core marketing is about change - Changing perceptions - changing attitudes and ultimately changing actions. But change demands time. That's why it's essential to commit to your marketing.  Your offer must be given a chance to work.

Human behavior has been studied since the dawn of man and in some respects remains a mystery to this day. Numerous theories abound.  Who’s right Freud, Jung, Skinner or your crazy uncle?  But one thing is certain; changing human behavior is rarely easily and seldom happens overnight.  

Since people are creatures of habit, it's only natural to resist change.  Once we in our ways, it's becomes difficult to change, even when change is in our self-interest, it's still resisted on many levels.  

Have You Ever Tried To Change Someone?

Was in your spouse, your girlfriend, your child or maybe even a parent?   How did that work out? Did it happen quickly or even at all?  On Shark Tank’s 100th episode Mark Cuban was asked to give entrepreneurs some sage advice.  He wanted them to know one very important idea, “it’s very hard to change minds."

Most people understand that change is difficult.  However there exists a huge disconnect between reality and marketing in this regard.  People expect marketing to be different.  They want it to be a miracle worker and produce instant results.  Then when it fails to change people quickly, people assume their marketing is not working.  The fact is even superb marketing rarely delivers immediate results.  Actually few things in life that are truly beneficial ever happen quickly.

We See One Million  Ads A Year

Famed marketing guru and author Seth Godin estimates we're exposed to over a 1,000,000 marketing messages yearly.  Imagine one million messages all vying for our attention,

Every marketing message is but one message in a limitless sea of messages. We’re bombarded daily by advertising.  In an hour or so of TV or radio there will easily be 40 to 50 commercials if not more.  Not to mention billboards, magazines, pop-up ads or the walking billboards we’ve become from shoes, shirts and hats.

What if Seth Godin’s estimates are a little high, what if it’s only half a 500,000, or perhaps only 250,000, the number is still astronomical. Getting your message to take hold and to stand out from all the rest is no easy task.  Who can recall two or three ads on television last night let alone a week ago?  That's why patience is necessary to give it time to cut through all the clutter and make a lasting impression.

Create Confidence

Since changing people is never easy - commitment to your marketing is essential. Every business needs a well thought out strategy, one that’s based on substance rather than hype – this provides the fuel for the confidence required so it has chance to work.

Here's the key- when you set out to create your strategy, take as long as long as you need.  Then if you want to change it, change it before you commit to it.  But once the plan is complete commit to it.  This shows you take marketing seriously and you’re not expecting overnight results.

Commit But Tweak

If you want to experiment, experiment with this.  Review your strategy every few months and make small changes to sharpen its focus.  After six months or so you might need to modify certain aspects of your strategy but only if it’s essential.  Then after one year reexamine it.  The conservative philosophy should apply, if it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.

Your objective is to provide your customers and prospects with confidence in you and what your product is about.  In marketing perception is everything. You must remain stable.  The more you change the less confidence the public will have in your product. 

There is one exception however - during the first year especially you will need to experiment and test.  That’s how all-marketing works.  In marketing the three most important words are test, test and test.  Test the offer, the headline, and the price.  But don’t change media, message, format or your identity - keep them consistent with the overall plan.

You Want A Miracle?

Here's your miracle, commit to your plan, there is no other way.  Seriously don’t look for miracles.  In the beginning you may not have any way of knowing if your plan is good or bad, except for low-cost testing, your own intuition, and the advice of others in whom you believe.  Too often businesses never put in the time and resources to develop an exceptional strategy.  When that happens is it any wonder they have little confidence in their marketing?

Naturally at times it won’t be easy to remain committed.  Initially you may not see any results or meager results at best.  Count on needing anywhere from three to six, and possibly even nine months before the results you want materialize.  If you get impatient, if you don’t stick with the plan, it’s almost certain to fail.   Almost all marketing plans start off slow or stumble at least temporarily.  But if you give up or radically alter it before it's had a chance to work, that is a guarantee for disaster. 

Here's Your Ace In the Hole

Imagine for a moment if your business had a strategy you were proud of - one that you could happily commit to?  Such a plan would make a big difference in the day-to-day operations of your business.  Remember marketing is about changing attitudes and actions.  Weak commitments lead to meager results.  Most people wait to see results before they commit.  That’s now how it works.  Imagine telling your fiancée on your wedding day, "I won’t commit until I’m sure things are going to work out."  

If your business needs a new direction, one that inspires action, confidence, and commitment let's talk to see if we’re a good fit to work together.