Bad marketing habits die hard

Bad habits are hard to break. If you are routinely investing time in low-yield marketing methods, you have yourself a bad habit. If you need proof, just take a look at some of your daily non-business habits. Here are a couple of bad habits I’ve observed in my daily routines:

Hot and cold water
It’s 95 degrees out. Hot food and drink are the last thing on my list of desirable sustenance. I’m pouring ice cold chocolate hemp milk into my coffee solely to bring the temperature down so that it does not heat up my body. And yet, every time I turn on the water at the sink, I turn on the hot water. It’s a bad habit. I keep correcting myself, but not before I feel hotness on hands. It costs money to heat water. Granted, it’s not much, but when you wash your hands as often as do I (yeah, I’m sort of a germ freak), it adds up. I’m teaching myself to turn on the cold water first, but years of badness are hard to undo.

This one isn’t bad, but it illustrates the point well
I eat a lot of soy yogurt. Heaps. I usually buy the 4-serving tubs, but sometimes they are sold out, so I get the 1-serving minis. The tubs come with a re-closeable lid, the minis with a foil peel-away lid. Every single time I get the minis, upon finishing the yogurt, I search the kitchen in vain for the plastic lid so I can recycle it. But there isn’t one, I realize eventually. My mind believes there is a lid because so often there is indeed a lid. I know that I must recycle that lid. Each time the product availability changes, I must change. If I do not change, I waste my effort.

Bad marketing is habit forming
Every week, it seems, I talk with agents and sales professionals who are trying to find easier ways to connect; ways to put less effort into their marketing, and ways to procrastinate from implementing tried and true marketing methods that work.

Procrastinating is habit forming. Bad marketing is habit forming. The more you invest in bad marketing habits, the more your business will flounder, and the more you will ask yourself when will it all turn around? Blaming slow business on the economy is a form of procrastination. Stop blaming and start marketing. When will it turn around?

It will turn around when you turn around.

Turn it around now!
Here’s a simple yet extremely effective exercise. Take a look at your marketing methods. List them out on a sheet of paper (or in Excel if you just can’t bring yourself to use paper and a pen). List out everything you do during your day that could possibly be categorized as marketing, and add it to your list. Now, write the time you are spending on each item on a weekly basis. Next, write the positive outcome in a third column, and finally, write the negative outcomes in a fourth column. It will be very easy to see what is an effective use of your marketing time. This exercise will take you all of about one hour.

I’m going to be totally honest with you here. This exercise might make you feel bad about yourself. It might make you wonder why you’ve been wasting so much time on facebook or twitter. It might show you that your blog posts are ineffective. Or, it may show that all of these are wildly effective. (I hate to say it, but in most cases, they’re not.)

There are some side benefits of this exercise. In addition to giving you a bird’s eye view of your bad marketing habits, you will get a good sense of how much consistent effort you have actually put into each method, and ultimately, how much you are willing to invest in your success. It will tell you if you can effectively manage your own marketing, or if you really need a marketing manager to keep you focused and on task. Finally, it will help you discover your strengths and weaknesses, which can be applied to your personal brand development.

Things can change, but first and foremost you must stab those bad habits in the heart with the sharp end of a highly motivated goal. You can do it. You just have to do a little hard work. Meanwhile, I’ll be hunting around for a nonexistent yogurt top.

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

Thank you! This is going to feel good.

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