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Smarketing Commentary: Trade Stagnation for Success

Posted by Cheri Gaudet on 10/5/11 2:05 PM

Regular readers of this blog probably know that Mahoney Internet Marketing is a HubSpot VAR. This means (among other things) that we use HubSpot every day. And every time I log on to HubSpot, I type the wrong password first. For a month now, I can't get out of the habit of typing in the wrong password. It's annoying. It starts my morning off on the wrong foot.

So this morning I decided to do something different and change my password to the one I enter in the first place. My mornings will be that much better and it's a more secure password anyway.

Here's another story. For awhile at MiM, we didn't know whether we were getting enough business from our website, because it took so much time for us to figure it out. We didn't have an easy way.

So now we're doing something different. We're using HubSpot's new advanced analytics tools to find out where people are losing interest as they move through our site. We can't wait to start showing our clients and prospects how it helps our business grow, and how it can help them.

Stagnation Frustration

In the month I've been with MiM I've noticed a pattern in the conversations I've been having with business owners. They're doing the same things they've always done, things that used to work, but they're frustrated because they're not working anymore.

  • Some are spending money, time and energy exhibiting at networking events where everyone else is trying to sell them something.
  • Some are spending valuable time selling services door-to-door, but they're still warding off calls from bill collectors.
  • Some have invested a LOT of money doing business the old way (ads, sponsorships, etc.) in a new kind of marketplace that no longer listens.

What's interesting to me is when we start talking about a different way to view and do things, their eyes glaze over, or their brows furrow. Too much, too different, not interested.

Old rules + new situation = guaranteed failure

The marketplace has changed (and keeps changing), but we're beyond the initial shock at this point. Some businesses are growing while others continue to fail. What separates the growing businesses from the failing ones?

Those that are growing are adapting to the new business environment by doing something different. They toughened up, grew thicker skin. They made changes and learned from the results. They haven't stopped adapting.

Those that are failing are still worrying about how they're going to "weather the storm," when what they're actually experiencing is climate change. But like Sal and Don said in Mad Men, "Our worst fears lie in anticipation." (OK, Sal said that was Balzac.)

You can't apply the old rules to the new situation. If you do, your business will fail. It doesn't matter if your business grosses $100,000 or $10 million a year.

Trade stagnation for success

If business owners aren't prepared to make at least three big changes in their behaviors, they can't expect their businesses (their visions) to grow and come to fruition.

  • View marketing as an investment, not an expense. If you got sticker shock the last time you talked with an agency, you're seeing it as an expense. Same goes for businesses that cut their marketing budget at the first sign of hard times.
  • Insist that your website be a performing asset. Your website is more than a signpost on the internet. You can have a sign out on the main drag, but if it's covered up by a giant shrub, no one's going to know you're there. You have to remove the shrub and make the sign more visible. Same with the rest of your internet presence.
  • Realize that smarketing is the new standard. The days are long gone when businesses get to tell customers what they should want, but many businesses still automatically interact with prospects this way. Sales and marketing need to work together to meet customers wherever they are in their buying processes and help them move efficiently toward a decision about whether (or not) to buy. It's a simple concept that should be executed carefully.

Can you handle it?

Frankly, smarketing isn't for every business owner - only those that are so fed up with stagnating that they're ready to do something different. Is it going to be uncomfortable? Not gonna lie - it probably will be. Is it going to be worth it? Hell yes.

If you're ready for growth, then maybe you're ready for smarketing.

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Topics: smarketing