One of my favorite quotes for life and work is from Albert Einstein. He said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” As a cyclist myself, I can see so many principles for life in bicycle metaphors. So, in this post, I’m going to convince you that marketing your business is a lot like riding a bicycle. You just need to understand the “marketing cycle,” and start moving.
The Three Stages of the Marketing Cycle
First, let’s agree that repetition is the key to progress, whether you’re marketing a business or riding a bike. To get anywhere on a bicycle, you have to continually push the pedals in a circle. Similarly, marketing is a cycle between three key stages: Planning, Execution, and Measurement. Thus, to have a successful marketing program, you’ve got to hop on and ride this “marketing cycle” down the road.
Start by Planning Your Route
You wouldn’t just jump on a bicycle without checking a few things first, right? For example, is there air in the tires? Are you wearing a helmet? And most importantly, do you know where you’re going?
Of the three stages of the marketing cycle, planning comes first. This is where you answer several important questions like:
- Who am I trying to reach?
- What do I need to tell them?
- What marketing channels are my prospects paying attention to?
- How do I build a presence there?
- How will I measure the impact of my outreach?
Make sure you have a clear sense of direction, and have identified the proper resources needed to develop your marketing program.
Then, Get Moving Toward Your Destination
Once you’ve adequately prepared, and have a route planned, it’s time to go!
When it comes to marketing, execution is critical. Seth Godin, the brilliant author and marketer has said, “There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas. What’s missing is the will to execute them.” It takes hard work to craft the right message for the appropriate channel, then deploy it to engage with your audience.
Buckling down and doing the work can be challenging. In the same way pedaling up a hill takes additional effort and energy, the hardest part of executing a marketing program is usually getting started. Once you’ve begun, maintain your momentum with clearly defined tasks, responsibilities, and deadlines.
Finally, Reflect Back on Your Journey
The final step in the marketing cycle is measurement. Your message is in market, so what’s the outcome? Using the tools you defined for measuring impact—via digital metrics or simply counting customer inquiries—assess the effectiveness of your marketing effort. Is this journey worth repeating?
If the results aren’t satisfying, maybe it’s time to shift. Like bicycling, there usually several routes that lead to your destination. And often, it takes more than one “try” to reach your goals.
Consistency Builds Momentum and Leads to Success
As is true for bicycling, marketing, and just about anything else in life, results come through consistency. Beth Comstock of General Electric said, “Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.”
I hope this analogy encourages you to tune up your “marketing cycle” and take it for a ride. If you need help with any of the stages listed above, please contact me. I help small business owners get their marketing programs moving in the right direction.