The end of the year is a time that many business owners reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. It’s a great time to seriously consider making changes. What should we do more of? What should we do less of? What opportunities are we missing?
There are two broad approaches to change in marketing: gradual change or radical change. This is what I call the “evolution or revolution” debate. The basic question is this: should we change by improving what we have, or do we need a complete replacement of our current efforts with something new?
The first step is to take an honest look at what you are doing.
At one extreme might be the business that has no online presence, is still advertising in phone directories or other unused print media, and has no regular outreach (email marketing) to clients. This is time to seriously considering a revolution. Get some help, and, more importantly, be willing to change.
At the other extreme might be the company that is doing well, and has a decent online presence, an infrequent newsletter or email campaigns and some planned marketing program. Should this business start over, and give up the proverbial “baby with the bathwater?” Most definitely not, as, with some modifications, these tools and efforts can become much more effective.
Radical change, completely re-doing a website, for example, can result in drastic negative consequences for the business. We’ve seen this many times when a company has gone from a professionally-designed and written website to a do-it-yourself website that may look good, but for numerous reasons, performs very poorly on the search engines.
Here is one example of a website–the green line–competing very well with another with a similar product line (the blue line)–and then doing a radical re-design/re-launch (around Sept 26). The online visibility plummeted to almost 0 (no visibility) and has only recovered to half the level it was previous–all during the critical holiday shopping season. This radical change resulted in a new website, which, by all measures, has performed worse than its old one. This radical probably cost the business several tens of thousands of dollars in sales.
It is, of course, hard to know if a radical change will bring about a new set of issues, which were not understood when the change began. Unfortunately, many business owners believe that change itself is good, and must be better than what exists currently. Many don’t envision replacing one set of problems, with a whole new set of problems. It happens, a lot!
At Kona Impact, we have spent over a decade helping companies in Hawaii plan and implement marketing programs. At times, we tell clients that we’d love to take their money, but are reasonably certain, that they won’t see improved business results if do. We’d rather sleep well at night, knowing that we helped a business make choices that will be best for their business, even if it means a lost project for us.
Our goal at Kona Impact has always been to give our customers the best information we have and help guide them to solutions that will be best for their business. At times, a revolution in order, but most of the time, it’s best to work with existing systems and improve them.