Marketers are an interesting bunch. Our jobs require both objectivity and subjectivity, blending data and logic with creativity, and no two days are ever quite the same thanks to our changing environments and demanding circumstances.
Unfortunately, there are some negative traits many of us share in common — most notably, simple excuses that sometimes prevent us from being as good at our jobs as we can be. Learn to recognize these excuses when they enter your head, and you’ll be able to do a better job of controlling them:
1. This is what’s always worked. This is an excuse I often hear from marketers in traditional industries, like manufacturing, and it’s often used in reference to newer techniques — even ones that have proven to be effective. This excuse usually stems from a skewed, but understandable perspective; if you’ve used the same strategy every year for a decade, and every year it gives you reasonably positive results, why would you meddle with it? Why mess with a good thing? However, just because you have a good thing doesn’t mean there’s not a better thing — or at least another good thing you can add to your repertoire. And if “what’s always worked” is no longer working, you’ll be glad you explored other alternatives already so you know what to try next.
2. I can’t afford to try that. This is usually an excuse that comes up in reference to marketing budgets, and it’s a somewhat valid one. Most businesses don’t have unlimited funds to play with, or unlimited time to work with, so they automatically assume that there are finite limits to what they can do. However, there’s almost always room for some experimentation in marketing; you don’t have to have a massive budget to try a “sample sized” version of a strategy. Hell, there are plenty of marketing strategies that can be executed with a simple investment of time.
3. I can’t come up with any new ideas. This is a tough one, because we’ve all experienced the pain of struggling to come up with a new idea for a campaign — whether that’s a clever tagline, an article topic, or a new way to get more conversions. It’s a tough spot to be in, and there’s no clear answer because you can’t force creative ideas to appear. However, you can seek inspiration elsewhere, whether that’s talking to someone new at a networking event or visiting an art gallery for more abstract stimulation. Or, simply find an article full of ideas like this one.
4. This strategy doesn’t work for my industry. Some industries naturally gravitate to certain strategies. However, there are no strict lines when it comes to what strategies work for what businesses. Yes, every business is unique and some industries have specific obstacles to navigate, but with a little creativity, you can transform almost any strategy to work well for your brand.
5. I don’t have time to run a full analysis. If you’re confident from experience, exceptionally trusting, or just running out of time, you might skip the analytics steps of your normal processes. For example, you might gloss over the market research, or you might omit the traffic analysis report for the month, or you might trust your instincts rather than looking at the data. However, there’s never a good excuse to do this. Your instinct and creativity can be useful tools in the marketing realm, but at the end of the day, objective data should form the backbone of your decisions; never skimp out on the data.
6. I don’t have the time to learn that. When faced with a new technology to learn, it’s natural to be skeptical. Technologies and trends seem to come and go quickly, sometimes without rhyme or reason, so when someone mentions a new software tool that could make your life more efficient or a new social media platform that “everyone” is using, you might not acknowledge it as a real opportunity. Even more established technologies and strategies might seem like they’re not worth the investment of your time, especially if you’re busy. However, taking the time to learn these things can ultimately save you even more time than you spent in the future, so always be open to trying it — and better managing your time so you can fit it into your schedule.
7. Maybe next year. As marketers, there’s never a shortage of strategies and experiments to try. We see them coming in from every department, and recommended by every publication, so it’s sometimes hard to keep track of them all. Sometimes, we’ll like an idea, but we’re so wrapped up in our current lineup, we don’t make any room for it. Because marketing strategies often depend on cyclical rotations and annual budgets, it’s easy to defer those attractive-sounding ideas until “next year.” But be careful — delaying something indefinitely often results in never pursuing the strategy at all. Ask yourself: what’s really stopping you from trying this now?
You may not say any of these excuses out loud, but you’ve probably thought them at one point or another — and that doesn’t mean you’re a lazy or bad marketer. It means you’re normal, as these are thoughts that creep into almost everyone’s mind at one point or another. The first step in overcoming excuses is recognizing that you’re making them, so be honest with yourself and start working to take more accountability for your position.