Marketing is a process, an on-going relationship with your audience over time. It requires taking the long view and a commitment to keeping your marketing platform and your products evolving to keep up with them.
Digital Marketing is hard. Upgrading websites, developing new media formats, creating apps…these efforts require big projects. Many of the technical projects I have been involved with were so broad in scope that they spanned a period of years, from concept to completion. Whether your next project will take a few months or even a year or two, how do you keep yourself and your team motivated? How do you keep going over the long haul?
How to be someone who completes successful marketing projects.
Well the first thing is…you have to be willing to get started. It takes a lot of determination to start because at first all you and your team have is your ideas and your strategy. You have very little to go on in terms of results or production. It takes a long time and true faith to show results, but if you stick with it you will see results beyond what you even imagined.
It takes persistence. You have to do the steps, work the plan, and put the time in. You have to put one foot in front of the other. You may not see results for a while. You will have to keep going through times when it seems like nothing is happening. Things are moving more slowly than you (and your manager) wanted. You encounter obstacles you did not anticipate. But you work through them and you keep going.
Perseverance is the key.
You can’t know everything you need to know when you get started. You have to do your homework and create a plan but you also have to be willing to role up your sleeves and dig in even though all of the details are not in place. You don’t know how to work it all out but you have to trust that if you apply the energy and are willing to learn along the way, you will be given the information you need when you are ready for it. Start with the first step and see it through. Then continue onto the next step and see it through. Each step you take moves you higher up the ladder giving you a better view of what is coming. You’ll see things from the vantage point of experience that you could never have seen from the starting point.
Of course planning and preparation are an important part of success too.
You can’t just start something willy-nilly on a whim and expect to figure it all out as you go along. However as with anything, it’s a matter of balance. You need enough of a plan in place to ensure that your idea is viable and that you have thought through all of the major components and deliverables. You need to have a clear vision of what the project will accomplish and how, in general, it is going to get done.
Then you start. As you move through the process, you will learn new things, gain experience and make mistakes. From here you will make adjustments to your plan. You’ll realize that some of the things you expected to happen are not viable. You’ll also discover new things that you didn’t know about at the beginning that will help you along the way.
Each time you try and it does not work, you take something from the experience and you refine your method. Repetition is how you get better at something. The human mind and body are capable of the most minuscule adjustments. You may not even realize consciously the adjustments your mind, body and personality are making as you work your way through the process of learning. The only way to learn is to do it. Be willing to do it badly. You have to be willing to fail. You have to be willing to look silly, sound silly, even be silly. Nobody starts something and does it perfectly.
The point is that there is a certain amount of slogging through that you have to do in order to build up the momentum you need to start seeing results. This takes perseverance. You may find that things get boring, mundane, repetitive, discouraging, challenging. These are the things that make ordinary people quit. They aren’t making enough progress fast enough. They aren’t having as much fun as they hoped. They aren’t having the kind of success they were looking for. So they lose interest. They lose faith and they quit. They can’t take it so they give up and go on to something else. This may be the best decision for them. But if they do the same thing on the next project how will they ever succeed? Seeing something through and persevering through the hard times is part of the formula for success.
You keep visualizing what you are working towards.
You see it in your mind’s eye long before you see it in reality. Trust yourself and your ideas, and when you have to, show an example to the rest of the team. Slowly but surely you will begin to see the results manifest. You will be amazed as each little individual piece shows up. You will chuckle to yourself when pieces fall into place because it will almost seem like magic. When things really start to happen they can seem effortless. The right thing happens at the right time. You start learning and understanding things at a new and deeper level. And in ways that you didn’t even know at the start that you would need.
That’s because the person you were when you started has been changed. You have grown and expanded into the person you needed to be in order to accomplish your goal. You have learned new things along the way. Problems have been resolved within you and around you. You persevered and overcame things and that helped you to get stronger. You kept on moving forward even when you weren’t exactly sure how it would all work out.
And then you have to keep going.
Only after doing something and being in the process for a good long time will you begin to really see results. If you can do that, you’ll be one of those people that helps your organization move ahead. Talk to anyone who has ever crossed the finish line of a big project. They’ll tell you it was hard work and commitment that made the difference. They’ll tell you that there were times; just before they finally made a breakthrough, that they almost quit. They were out of energy and hope. But they gave it one last try. And sure enough, it worked! There is something about persistence that the Universe rewards. What weeds out the successful projects from the ones that fall by the wayside, isn’t always a matter or budget or resources. It can actually be the amount of time, energy, and determination people are willing to devote to the goals and the vision. How many obstacles are they willing to overcome? How many times are they able to face failure and try again? How many “no’s” are they willing to hear before they finally get a “yes?” The more they can withstand the pressure the more likely they are to succeed.
And don’t forget to plan the launch party. That’s where you can relax, enjoy and start thinking about your next project.