Are We There Yet? [And Other Childhood Favorite Questions...]
Growing up, we all knew the one question that annoyed our parents more than any other on trips; are we there yet? In retrospect, the answer most often heard, "we'll get there when we get there" was equally as annoying. As human beings we have an innate need to receive definitive answers to questions which, in theory, should have simple answers.
Clients have the same question but the issue is that there isn't a clear definition for them of where "there" is. It's not a place, it's a financial destination that for 99% of businesses has no specific end point because who wants to ever stop earning money? The goal is to earn the most money possible while continuing to grow and thrive, not simply survive.
In this case, the question shouldn't be asked or answered. "Are we there yet?" should be replaced with "I am going to get [there] by..." and then marketing service providers (MSP) should assist clients in defining not only where "there" really is (and make it tangible) but also to define the action items needed to reach whatever goals are setforth.
The question that begs to be asked by the previous statement is "Why?" I think toddlers are particularly fond of this one but this is a question that should be asked often by clients AND marketing service providers alike. Every marketing move made should have a definitive reason behind it that is tied to the action items and goals discussed previously. For example, "I am going to get to my financial goal of $100,000 a month by sending out 15,000 additional postcards a month." In this case, the goal is financial and the action item is adding additional marketing. But, why is this the chosen action item? Those three simple letters should spark a serious conversation about how and why the client's marketing strategy is the way it is. Are they using any tools to measure ROI? Where did this magical 15,000 number come from? How many of their products do they need to sell to exceed their goal?
Am I in trouble? My co-workers 3 year old asks this quite frequently when she is told "no" to just about anything. When a client says they want to send our their magical number of 15,000 postcards, a MSP needs to be willing to say no if it is in their best interest. Conversely, as a client, the willingness to tell the MSP no to ideas that they do not feel are in their best interest should be allowed and encouraged as well. The word of marketing is ever evolving and every idea is subjective...some work, some don't. While you can't be afraid to try new things, it is important to stick to the action items put in place to achieve and exceed goals.
In closing, are we there yet? No, we'll never be there because it doesn't exist. Why? Because everyone has their own goals that pertain to their specific business. Am I in trouble? Me personally? No, of course not, unless of course you didn't learn anything from this post in which case I might be. :) ... But I digress ... You, whether you are a MSP or a business owner are not in trouble, but it's time to take a good hard look at your policies, procedures and methods to be sure that they are effective. Remember, it's about thriving, not simply surviving.