This week we take a look at building marketing momentum, why and how to start it, how to keep it going, plus how to measure and predict it in future.
What are we talking about and why?
We’ve had this happen a bunch of times with our clients. We start work. The first couple of months are super heavy on the work and very light on the results. By month 3 the client is happy with the results they’re seeing. By month 6, they’re struggling to find time to take our calls because they’re so slammed trying to keep up with demand. This is marketing momentum.
In our age of instant digital everything, fast food, fast fashion and “overnight success stories” there can be a general assumption that everything can be achieved instantly. True marketing momentum doesn’t work quite like that. By its very nature it takes time to build.
It’s like surfing. You start paddling out and it is really hard work, even getting out to where the waves are. Then you have to paddle some more to catch the wave, slightly easier but still work. Then, all of a sudden you’re moving without trying, being pushed along by the wave’s power and having a really great time. But it doesn’t last forever, at some point, the wave runs out of power and you have to start again.
How much time does building marketing momentum take?
This is a bit of a “how long is a piece of string” question but there are common factors that affect it that you can use or even manipulate to influence the outcome.
- Length of sales cycle: If your sales cycle is 2 years long, you’re not going to have built much momentum by next Friday. Conversely, if your “sales cycle” is an almost instantaneous consumer impulse purchase and you’ve not got anywhere after 6 months of trying, something’s wrong.
- Amount of marketing input: This is quite a coarse tactic, but to a degree the more you put in, the quicker you start to see signs of stuff coming back out. More in means more things being tried and measured more quickly, which enables you to adjust your approach and do more of what’s working in a shorter space of time, therefore building momentum more quickly.
- Savviness of strategy/approach/story: Even more than quantity, quality will affect how quickly you can build momentum in a campaign. On point strategies, really compelling stories and approaches gain traction far faster and therefore you see momentum build more quickly.
- How good your offering is: If you’re doing something genuinely different and valuable it will be easier and quicker to build marketing momentum compared with a “me too” product or service that has little of note to say about it.
How do you know when it has peaked?
Initially you don’t, but you’ll soon learn what a typical curve and plateau looks like for you by experience. Going back to our surfing metaphor, when you first start out you don’t know how much effort to put in to paddle, so you end up with your arms going like the clappers and you’re exhausted after an hour.
With experience, you learn the water, you learn your board and you get to the point where you know the exact bite point where the wave will take over and you can leap to your feet and enjoy the ride. Then you might stay in for 3-4 hours because you’re doing just enough to get the desired effect.
What do I do once the momentum starts to ebb?
This depends on your situation, but you definitely need something new. This might be a new campaign if there’s still a lot of legs in your product and market, it might be selling a new product to the same people or the same product to new people. It’s going to come down to your unique situation. But you can be sure as you feel the power of the wave dropping away you should already be thinking about paddling back out to catch the next one.
For marketing or surfing chat, drop us a line.