One of the highlights of 2019 for me was getting to travel to Singapore with my brother for the Formula 1 Grand Prix ... a true “bucket list” experience if there ever was one.
You don’t have to watch much motor racing to realise that when the race leader is out in front, they don’t back off the gas and “rest on their laurels”.
It was truly impressive to see how hard the drivers push themselves and their cars, even when they are winning. Relentless is certainly one word for it.
However, backing off is a mistake I see many businesses make with their marketing.
A business will get to the point where it feels it is ahead and winning with its marketing, and then decide to back off.
This is often expressed in comments like:
- “Our sales team have too many leads and are too busy at the moment”
- “We’ve got plenty of jobs lined up for the next quarter”
- “We’ve built enough momentum that we can pull back for a bit”
However, as anyone who has ever driven a car knows - when you take your foot off the accelerator, things start to slow down.
You will coast, but you will slow and eventually come to a halt.
The same thing applies with your marketing. When you slow your activity, you may coast along for a while (and how long you coast will depend on a number of factors).
However, in the long run your rate of inquiries and sales will slow, as will your level of brand awareness in the marketplace.
Furthermore, there is a ramp up period required with marketing - especially if your business has a longer sales cycle.
You might hit the inevitable dry patch after scaling back your marketing, only to find that it takes too long to start generating enough leads of sufficient quality by the time you ramp back up.
I’ve recently come across a few businesses in this exact scenario. They were doing well with their marketing and “leading the race”. They then decided to scale back as they felt their pipeline was sufficiently full for the foreseeable future. You don’t need a crystal ball to work out how these stories all ended - with a sudden scramble for leads a few months down the line.
Don't back off when you're ahead!