“Excuses excuses!” It’s not just a song by The Kingsmen or what my father used to say exasperatedly when I failed to do my chores. It’s also what rings in my head when I hear people giving me all of the reasons why they can’t do something!
One of the areas where people are quick to offer up excuses is assisting in marketing efforts. We often say that “everyone is in sales”. However, we should also be saying that “everyone is in marketing” as well! Most successful agencies have a strong marketing plan. Most successful marketing plans have a strong content development strategy. And most successful content development strategies involve contributions from everyone in the agency.
Excuse #1: Too Busy
For the Constant Reader (stolen from Stephen King) of our blogs, this one is the most predictable on this list. In fact, any list of excuses should just assume that this one is at the top. I’ll give the short argument to this to spare you the full sermon. At the end of the day, we should be focusing on the tasks that drive the desired results. If marketing is a priority, you need to figure out how to re-prioritize your day to include your marketing efforts.
Excuse #2: Content Creation is Too Hard
Bull! Somewhere in the last 10 years as blogging and digital marketing has become more prevalent, someone in our industry came up with the excuse that content creation is too hard and now it’s become an accepted excuse. The truth is content creation is as easy as answering every question received by your client facing staff. “I was in a car accident, what do I do?” “How do I determine the limit that I need on a condo policy?” “What is an Experience Modification Rate and how does it affect my workers’ comp premium?” Literally every question your team gets can be a blog. This means that your service and salespeople are also your best resources for content!
Excuse #3: Marketing in 2018 is Too Overwhelming or Confusing
I’m not going to lie, marketing in 2018 is not the same as it was 20 (or even 10) years ago. However, it is more important now than it has ever been and nothing worth doing is easy. You don’t have to start out at an advanced level, but you do have to start out. If you don’t start today, it is just going to get harder to start tomorrow.
Identify one thing (blogging) that you are going to do to get started. Create a content strategy and a plan and start it immediately. Once you are comfortable with that, identify another area. There are many sources (including our AppX Marketing training program!) that can be used to help kick start your marketing efforts.
Excuse #4: It’s Too Expensive
This one can also be titled, We Don’t Have Funds in the Budget. I’m not even going to go too cliche here (You have to spend money to make money – fine I did it!). There are definitely some areas where marketing can be expensive (GEICO spends well over $1 Billion a year!). But there are a lot of more reasonable spends that can easily be justified with an ROI calculator. Boosting posts, some light paid advertising on social media, custom website, and spending on email and sales systems are all lower cost efforts. And there are a ton of “free” (read: human capital only) ways to create content and market online including simple social media posts and blogging are amongst the most effective ways to improve your SEO and they don’t cost a dime!
Excuse #5: We Don’t Know Who Should Be Responsible
In agencies that do not have a person or department responsible for marketing, there is often no one that owns it. When your job description and responsibilities have you focused in another area, it can be difficult to change gears into a marketing role that isn’t even your responsibility. To overcome this excuse, we really need to give someone ownership of the role. This includes identifying the person as well as updating their job description to include the responsibilities. Additionally, like all good job descriptions, the marketing goals should be clearly spelled out and there has to be a way to hold the person accountable if the job is not performed well. There should also be an incentive to perform well whether this is simply acknowledgement that they are hitting their goals in quarterly and annual reviews or an actual financial incentive based on hitting or surpassing goals.
As always, remember that an excuse is just describing the problem again and again. If you find yourself consistently describing the reasons why you aren’t involving everyone at the agency in your marketing efforts, start to think about solutions to turn your excuses into solvable problems.