Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan), a New York Times bestselling author and social media guru with a widely read blog, talks about how it took him years to become an overnight success. In fact, he recently said it took him 8 years to get his first 100 readers which now number 100s of thousands I'm sure.
Now in fairness to Chris he started his blog before social media and even RSS for that matter. The point is that Chris is just one example of thousands. But I read that stat in Chris's newsletter and it got me to thinking about how marketing is always a long term game.
The reality is it takes time to create content, get found, nurture leads and ultimately convert them into sales for your start-up. Marketing is not something you can turn on at the last minute and expect it to show immediate results. We as marketers even fail to remember this on occassion.
I recently started a series of posts on this blog about Getting Started and that's the key here. You need to start your marketing activities sooner, rather than later, as it takes time to create awareness and build your funnel.
I'm often surprised how marketing can be expected to deliver immediate results when R&D is given time to develop the product and sales is given the time to build a pipeline. It's no different in marketing and PR. It takes time to create the campaigns that generate leads and then move the prospects through the funnel. It also takes time to build relationships and create the stories that result in coverage for your company.
How long does this take you might ask? Well, it's another one of those "it depends" answers. It depends on your target market, the complexity of the product you are selling, the maturity of your market, the competition and many other factors. It will likely take months or years not days or weeks.
But, even though I'm saying you need to be patient to become a marketing success, I'm not for second saying that you should launch a campaign and hope for the best. It's an iterative process and you need to be constantly measuring and analysing to tweak the campaign and increase its effectiveness.
You should also not rest when one campaign is launched but continue to integrate new and different tactics. It's also an ongoing process and one initiative builds on the other. That's why the marketing mix is crucial to the effectiveness as well.
While you hope it doesn't take 8 years to get your first 100 customers, it might, and you need to remember that ongoing marketing activities are the key to not only make this happen but can also be crucial to making it happen sooner.
Your marketing success, even your overall success, is a long term game so prepare for the ride.