6 Strategies to Fight Marketing Entropy
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that in an isolated system, entropy evolves towards equilibrium. Your brilliant, hot cup of marketing genius cools over time. But you can re-energize your strategy. Six sources of insight can help you fight marketing entropy and maintain your transformational edge.
The 2nd Law is the 1st Law of Marketing
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that in an isolated system, entropy evolves towards equilibrium. In the classic example, you pour a cup of hot coffee and set it on the table. That cup of coffee doesn’t remain hot. Instead, the heat is transferred to the surrounding environment until reaching equilibrium. You brewed an exceptional cup of hot coffee, placed it by your computer and left it there when you were pulled away to provide input on a key client proposal. When you return…well…it’s time for a new cup of coffee.
It happens in marketing as well. You’ve probably seen it in action. Your brilliant, hot cup of marketing genius cools over time because of unanticipated demands, lack of focus, or changes in personnel. Your messages lose their edge as they are adapted again and again over hundreds of emails, thousands of social media posts and scores of blog articles, white papers and product sheets. Performance drops. Frustrations rise. But you can re-energize your strategy. Six sources of insight can help you fight marketing entropy and maintain your transformational edge.
1. Internal Insight
The antidote to increased entropy and mediocrity is an infusion of new energy. Quarterly and annual strategy reviews, team meetings and performance analytics will help to keep the team focused and sharp. Analyze your monthly key performance indicators for any sign that performance is dipping. Have a team lunch. Schedule a fun afternoon social activity to re-energize the team and break the monotony. Lead a brainstorming session on an issue you’ve back-burnered for a refreshing change.
2. Inter-departmental Insight
It’s also important to remember that the key to reversing entropy is energy from outside your isolated system. Have your sales team review the marketing content and strategy. Do they still align with the needs of their prospects and customers? Talk to your operations team. Does your messaging and content accurately represent the current operating model, or have things changed?
3. Customer Insight
A great way to inject new energy into your isolated system is to go to your current customers or clients. Find out what it was about your messaging and marketing that attracted their attention. Is it still relevant to them today? How has their media consumption changed in the last year? Are they ignoring channels today that may have been important to them a year ago? Are different business imperatives driving decision-making? Is something happening in the next 6 – 12 months that is causing concern?
4. Competitor Insight
Keep an eye on your competitors for signs that their core messages are changing. Is the change in response to forces affecting your clients and prospects, or is it designed to change the dynamics between competitors? And watch for changes in channel strategy. Is a competitor conspicuously missing from one of the standard trade shows? Did their ads suddenly disappear from a prominent publication, only to re-appear everywhere online?
5. Non-competing Vendor Insight
Another external source of heat and insight is other non-competing vendors that sell in the same market. If your service is a social media management platform for fitness centers, talk to the vendor that is marketing their diet and fitness app to the same audience. Do you represent a line of medical equipment used in doctors’ examination rooms? How has your colleague that markets and sells consumable supplies changed their approach? The next time you are at a trade show, talk to the vendors at the other booths during down-time. They might have identified an emerging trend or issue in the marketplace that hasn’t appeared on your radar yet. Maybe they are increasing visibility within a new or emerging channel and experiencing success.
6. Outside Consultant Insight
Many companies will reach outside of their closed system to bring in an outside marketing or branding consultant. An outsider with a fresh perspective on your business or market can take your exploration in unexpected directions or maybe add relevant insights from completely unrelated industries that lead to a breakthrough idea.
Maintain Your Transformational Edge
The distractions of a busy office, pressures to produce large volumes of original content, changes in the external environment, and turnover in personnel over time all conspire to accelerate marketing entropy. Marketing strategies aren’t designed to address this problem and marketing performance suffers as a result. You can counteract these natural tendencies with purposeful management strategies that re-energize your team, inject new energy into the system and provide you with fresh insight to keep your marketing strategies transformational.