Don't Wait. Market Now.

Throughout my time consulting, I’ve met numerous people who insist on waiting for their product to be ready or their business to be formalized before they begin their marketing efforts. My advice: Don’t wait. Market now.

In the past, I’ve been invited to speak to various classes on marketing, entrepreneurship, and business as a whole. When I do, one of my favorite messages is to encourage students to develop their network before they need it. Otherwise, their network won’t be around when they do.

As a scenario, imagine that two people are looking for a job. Let’s call them Bill and Ted.

Bill created his LinkedIn profile years ago and has amassed a strong social media following. Over time, he’s dedicated consistent effort to creating a polished brand image. Because he was proactive, Bill will have a much easier time reaching out to contacts within his network who are familiar with him.

On the other hand, Ted is starting from square one. He can try reaching out to people the same way as Bill, but the fact remains that Bill has established relationships. Meanwhile, Ted is doing a rushed job; his profile looks sloppy, he has few endorsements, and people are unfamiliar with him. Beyond that, people may actually be annoyed by his outreach because he hasn’t taken the time to understand his audience at all.

While ultimately the end goal of any business is to turn a profit, the best marketers know that it isn’t just about pushing the sale. By developing effective marketing strategies, you’re building a relationship with your audience. Those who follow a business along on its journey from beginning to end will naturally have a much closer sentimental tie than compared to those who have just now been exposed for the first time. Take, for example, Coca-Cola and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

When the wall came down on November 9th, 1989, Coca-Cola employee Paul-Gerhard Ritter had trucks filled with Coca-Cola meet the people of East Berlin as they rushed to join their loved ones in the West. He personally had served Coca-Cola to visitors from his home town. Even the guards wanted a bottle of Coca-Cola. The moral of the story is not to wait for marketing, but to act now.

This story also applies to companies with long-term clients. In 1989, Coca-Cola was nearly 100 years old, but they were continually focused on a growth mindset. Not only did this mentality keep them afloat, it drove them to cultural icon status.

The contradictory argument is that people may see your business when it isn’t in its ideal state and be unwilling to give it a second chance down the road. But couldn’t this just as easily happen at any point in the product life cycle? Of course, it can. This is why it’s important to always maintain a professional outlook and to manage your audience’s expectations.

By creating false expectations, you could be setting yourself up for a negative outlook down the road. However, if you communicate with your audience and engage them like they are your closest friends, you won’t have this issue.

Furthermore, it’ll be easier to grow your marketing later on if you create a baseline sooner. If someone new to digital marketing was told to immediately dive into social media marketing, web design, and pay-per-click campaigns, they’d be completely overwhelmed. Even if they were told to focus on subsets of these groups, there’s still a lot of ground to cover.

But by remaining patient and steadily growing your business over time, you can accomplish much more without feeling overwhelmed. After all, Coca-Cola probably didn’t imagine that their company would become a cultural icon.

Author Rick Warren once said, “Remember how far you've come, not just how far you have to go.” Keep these words in mind when contemplating your approach to marketing.

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