Noun: a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better: a complacent feeling or condition; self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies
Recently, I had coffee with a fellow colleague. “Complacency” surfaced as a key discussion point. As we are both marketing consultants, we have seen our fair share of businesses who become complacent in their marketing efforts. Their business campaigns look tired and their competitors gain market share as they offer more compelling alternatives. We admitted to ourselves that we have also been guilty of this sin as we are busy and our business “seems” to continue on a positive track. However, further inspection of our efforts and those of other businesses can often uncover unsettling surprises.
All businesses have pain points. Failure to address these problems will place your business on a track of slow demise.
If you are experiencing any of these issues, your business is guilty of marketing complacency:
- We need to be more intentional in our sales and marketing efforts.
- We are passive in our marketing efforts.
- We do not have a defined plan in how to stay in front of our core customers.
- We would like to explore new sectors/services that we don’t currently offer, but don’t know how to market ourselves, effectively.
- We invested in a new website with the hope that it would increase business, but have not seen measurable results.
- Are we spending our marketing $$ in the right place? How do we measure ROI?
As noted above, “complacency” is a feeling of being satisfied and not wanting or understanding why you need to make it better. From a business perspective, this feeling can negatively impact your bottom line. Marketing strategy is the cornerstone of your business. The presumption that your past and current marketing efforts will continue to garner the same positive results is similar to assuming that your fax machine will continue to be the favored mode of client communication. Ask yourself, “Are you losing sales?” “Are new competitors entering the market?” The business landscape is ever-changing. Existing products or services become passé. Customer expectations continuously change and evolve. While most businesses dislike friction or change, forcing yourself to embrace new ideas about your marketing initiatives will provide an enlightened focus about your target markets and provide opportunities for increased sales and customer loyalty.
Every business, large or small, should embark on an annual review of its marketing efforts.
While many view this exercise as tedious, I encourage you to approach this from a positive perspective; one that will keep your business healthy. Evaluating your sales and marketing efforts for the past year, will provide points of discussion and reflection in how your business needs to move forward. Professor David Bell, Wharton School of Business, coined a marketing framework that is highly useful in developing a marketing strategy for a specific problem. The components include:
- Market (target audience)
- Message design (creative component)
- Media strategy
- Money (budget)
As the year draws to a close, now is the time re-energize and re-evaluate your marketing strategy for the New Year. Gather your leadership, including your marketing professional to win the fight against complacency. Your business will reap the benefits of your efforts.