6 Benefits of the Best Marketing Tool You Can’t Buy: Reflection

Many marketing articles review marketing tools you can buy. This post will focus on an invaluable marketing tool you can't buy with money:

The ability to reflect.

Without this priceless marketing tool, company resources and marketing efforts are being wasted.

1. Reflecting Improves Your Marketing Execution

2. Improve Your Strategy

3. Set (Realistic) Expectations

4. Figure out What Marketing Tools to Buy (or Cancel)

5. Can Improve Teamwork

6. Change

1. Reflecting Improves Your Marketing Execution

Being able to look at your work in a critical way and always asking yourself,  “did I get closer to my goal?”

You’ll never increase the number of incoming leads or business objectives if you can’t reflect. Not hitting your target numbers? Finger-pointing and excuses don't do anything. Instead, turn these excuse into questions:

Think about why the email campaign didn’t go well.

Was it the right time to send the email?

Why aren't receiving leads from your website?

Is your website easy to navigate?

Why are leads reaching out not interested in your product(s) or service(s)?

Are you communicating in a clear and concise manner on your website, emails, landing page, blog posts and content offers?

Try this exercise:

Make a list; create three columns and write down what you’ve tried to do, what your goals were and results. Use this information to fuel your research.

While marketing is subjective to a certain degree, your creative could have been bad. Or you might not have followed best practice guidelines.

2. Improve Your Strategy

What’s your strategy?

The answer isn’t: “get more sales.”

That’s a goal.

A strategy is a well-thought-out plan or a structured plan of "attack." Think about the steps it takes to get to your end goal of a sale — that's what will get you to more sales.

What steps are you taking (or not taking)?

You can look back at your list you created from the exercise above. Any marketing your organization performs should focus on a long-term plan. What about short-term strategies? It would depend on your business structure, the company's financial health and industry.    

3. Set (Realistic) Expectations

The best way to set expectations for yourself (and those doing your marketing) is to learn it to see what it entails.

Here's an example:

You hired someone to do 5 hours of marketing work per week, but your website needs a major update.

Your expectations for the first 6 months are:

- A blog full of content

- Various downloadable materials on your website

- Make a few sales

It takes one to two weeks to create a working website mockup. That doesn’t include user testing or the actual time it takes to put the website together.

A proper marketing strategy can take weeks or even months to put together. It takes at least 40 hours per week to write anywhere between 2-3  (SEO-friendly) blog posts per week. This doesn't include social media, PPC advertising, setting up marketing automation and gated content.

4. Figure out What Marketing Tools to Buy (or Cancel)

Brand names and marketing go hand in hand. However, sometimes we get caught up in the brand name hype and end up not using any tool to their full potential (or at all).

I've met countless small and medium-sized businesses owners that received discounts marketing tool. Unfortunately, many of them never take the time to learn how to use them. Then, they complain that they need more sales or that their company isn't growing.

There are also companies spending money on marketing (and even sales) tools they don't use. This happens because they're purchasing tools without understanding how they work.

Would you buy an expensive article of clothing with no return policy, without knowing your size or knowing how it will fit?

This happens with marketing tools. Companies buy marketing tools without consulting the person who’s doing their marketing. Sometimes they purchase tools before they hire the marketer or have a strategy in place.

If you plan to hire a marketer, why not hold off on purchasing the tool? You should converse with candidates about their perspectives and compare your research.

The last thing you want to do is buy various tools with similar features, as this is wasting money.

5. Can Improve Teamwork

Who on your team isn't doing their part? This is something you should think about on a regular basis.

When people don't contribute, other team members have to take on more responsibilities. This can drive employees away from your company, prevent your business growth (as it takes away time to innovate) or cause it to fail.

I'm not implying to remove people like this from your organization, as I'm a believer in giving people chances. Try to help the struggling employees to do their part and reach their full potential.

Depending on the person's position, they might have tunnel vision or they might fear change. Ultimately, you can't force them to do anything; all you can do is guide them.

I highly recommend the following book/story for this:

Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson, M.D., foreword by Kenneth Blanchard

6. Change

As mentioned in the previous section, change isn’t something you can force onto someone. It’s something that happens when a person is ready to change. Usually something “clicks,” which pushes them to change their thought process and actions.

That said, change is one of the hardest things to do with regards to business, because of a fear of losing money.

Reflection allows one to see past the possible losses that come with change. When you reflect, you gain perspective allowing you to see that you don't change or adapt, you automatically lose.

Losses from inaction and refusing to adapt to change can sometimes be greater than losses incurred from changing.

Conclusion

Reflecting can help small to medium-sized business and established enterprise organizations. With that said, marketers and key stakeholders at SMB’s and in-house marketing departments can benefit from reflecting. Reflecting give you a chance to step away from your work and see how you can improve marketing and organization as a whole.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section!  If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it with someone you think will find the content useful.

Also, let me know if you see any errors or outdated information!

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