"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other"
~ Walter Elliot
An Ironman Triathlon is widely recognized as one of the most demanding one-day sporting events in the world. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run. Just to finish the race takes tremendous planning, training, stamina and commitment.
History tells us that the original marathon was run by a Greek man named Pheidippedes. During a war between the Greeks and Persians in 490 B.C., he was requested to run back to Athens to announce the Greek's victory. He ran all the way from his hometown of Marathon to Athens, a total of 26 miles. Upon delivering the good news, Pheidippedes dropped dead.
While our competitive business environment is ever-more challenging, hopefully none of us are "at war" with the competition. But, our determination to stay the course and willingness to run a marathon may be the deciding factor in winning the race.
Many things will go against you in your efforts to stay in communication with your target audience in order to win their attention, interest and business. Since the urgent can often cancel out the important, sustained marketing efforts sometimes are a casualty of changing market conditions and impatience over immediate sales results.
Marketing should never be thought of as a quick hit for immediate sales. Like working out, building a lasting relationship or gaining an education, return on investment can only be measured over the long haul. Except for a once-in-a-lifetime Pet Rock product, there is rarely a singular event that can drive results forever. To give your organization long-term sales muscle, marketing needs to be an everyday and sustained long-term commitment.
One of the first casualties of organizations (or industries) in a downturn is the marketing effort. One of the most common strategies is to cut prices and pull back on advertising. Both are the wrong answer at any time but always without question in times of adversity. Numerous studies have shown that when in trouble smart and successful companies actually increase marketing activity. The result is invariably an uptick in sales and market share because so many competitors are pulling back. Getting noticed and acquiring customers can be easier when others aren't even trying.
Over time a successful marketing program that is committed to will draw customers to you, generate a constant flow of new business leads, create a presence for your organization in the marketplace and focus the attention where it belongs, on the prospect instead of the product.
Though at some times you'll be running at full speed, successful marketing is not so much a sprint as it is a marathon. Be prepared and committed to go the distance.