June 1st, 2023

“I’ve Always Done It This Way” Is Not a Marketing Strategy

Author: Laura Lynch
Laura Lynch
Director of Marketing

We live in a rapidly changing, technology-driven world. If you’re not at the pulse  of that world, you’re falling behind.

Those who work in the advanced manufacturing and technology industry live in a process-oriented world. When they find something that works, they naturally want to stick with it—after all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Well, for one: because it’s underperforming. Or because it’s lacking a key feature that would offer a competitive advantage. Or because it’s out of date. Or for any number of reasons that businesses in an innovation-driven industry are used to providing their customers when one of them is hesitant to spring for a disruptive new technology.

Growing complacent about marketing strategy is not a good practice in any industry, but for manufacturing and technology companies that exist in incredibly competitive spaces, the issue can be even more significant. You need to be ready to explore new options if you don’t want to find yourself stuck as America’s best-kept secret. Here’s why.

1. You need to know what your competition is doing.

Successful companies don’t stand out in a crowded marketplace by barreling forward with blinders on. Instead, they stay alert to the competition, taking note of good ideas and identifying key differentiators. Some marketing strategies are more head-to-head with rival businesses than others (competing over keywords, for instance). But other strategies take advantage of gaps or openings in the market. By maintaining flexibility in your strategy, you can better leverage opportunities when you find them.

2. Just because something works doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.

Innovation is a mindset. Business leaders don’t earn their status by discovering one new thing and then resting on their laurels. Instead, they cultivate a practice of constant improvement, searching for ways to solidify their footing so that any leg up they gain on their competition turns into one more rung on a ladder to success. The same principle applies to marketing.

3. As you grow, your strategies will need to grow with you.

We all hope to have a loyal customer base that will stick with us long-term. But even your most dedicated customers can’t stay with you if you aren’t adjusting to the market. Industries change over time, and sales funnels change with them. Old pain points begin to have established resolutions, and new pain points emerge. And, of course, your own business’s capabilities will also change. If you’re following the same sales tactics you used as a startup, then you’re failing to leverage the advantages that you’ve gained from all your growth.

4. Hire for the skills you need.

We’ve spoken with many marketing departments who are staffed primarily by people without true marketing backgrounds. For instance, there might be a couple sales representatives in charge of customer relationships, or an overworked graphic designer who’s been left in charge of the company’s social media. Those people are doing the best they can, but they’re trying to fill a role they aren’t trained for. If you think your team is doing okay now, imagine what they’ll be able to accomplish with the support of marketing specialists.

5. Don’t run back to your comfort zone at the first sign of trouble.

Sometimes what we hear from customers is “I tried a different strategy once, and it didn’t work.” While that can be a setback, it’s no reason to never try anything new ever again. In fact, you should be prepared to experiment until you find a strategy that clicks. Especially if you’re new to marketing, your first ideas aren’t usually the best ones. When you step out of your comfort zone, the first couple tries may not be successful. That’s okay. Don’t go back to your comfort zone too fast. Try a couple more things. It’s a learning experience.

6. Make sure your team succeeds with you—not despite you.

Leaders drive change. If you want to start pushing past the status quo, you’re going to have to embrace that role and lead your team toward a brighter future rather than be an obstacle in the road. You won’t see the results you’re hoping for if you put your marketing team on trial every month expecting them to justify every decision. Instead, trust the people you’ve hired to do your marketing to know their business, and make sure they have the tools they need to succeed—including your full support.

7. If your infrastructure is in place, don’t hold back!

The most important part of a successful business is having the infrastructure in place to perform your job successfully and deliver to a client. Once you have built your company into a position where it can handle the business, don’t second-guess yourself in terms of when you can grow. Be prepared to spend money on ad campaigns, on marketing deliverables, and on branding so that you’re able to put the best vision of your business in front of as many eyes as possible.

“Always” won’t work forever.

It’s natural for companies to be proud of how far they’ve come, even with a shoestring marketing budget. In fact, it’s a refrain we hear all the time: “I started this company, I built it up from the ground, I’ve always done it this way, and look how far I’ve come.”

Let us be the first to say: fantastic work. You’ve built a lot of intellectual property around how to process orders, how to train your customer service. But just because you’ve always done it this way doesn’t mean you’re doing the best possible thing. In fact, this mindset is the antithesis of progress.

If you have a successful business but are now ready to grow, you cannot do the same thing you have always done. You have to look past your tried-and-true methods toward strategies that will advance you to the next level. Embracing those opportunities will lead you to better serve your customer, which will lead to increased sales and growth.

And, if you need a rockstar marketing team to take your strategy back to the fundamentals and then build it back up in a way that reflects your growing business, talk to us. We can look at what you’ve always done and show you how to do it better.

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