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Is Your Marketing Check Engine Light On?

by: Jeff Julian

Published on
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Is Your Marketing Check Engine Light On?

As a non-car guy, one of the most anxiety-producing indicators in my car is the Check Engine light.  Your marketing efforts have this indicator, and if they not careful and diagnosis them quickly, these issues can lead to costly results.

My Journey to Chicago

This week I have the luxury of being able to travel to one of my favorite cities, Chicago.  I am presenting an all-day workshop on Agile Marketing with the BAA/ANA organization for their local members.

As most of you may know, if I don’t have to fly, I won’t.

It is not a fear of flying. I love the rush of takeoffs, the added white noise during the flight for concentration, and delivery of diet beverages to my seat.  What I dislike is the required expense of the flight, need for a rental car or taxi, and moving from A to Z without a time where I can accomplish an entire task.  If it can be achieved in proximity to the same time and my schedule allows for it, I will drive.

Normally, it is a painless process of getting up early, gassing up every couple hours, and listening to a few good podcasts and books.  However, on the way to Chicago my car started acting… funny.  Some of the lights like oil pressure started flashing on and off, the car would go in and out of “limp mode,” and finally the Check Engine light turned on.

What does it mean?  Did I remember to get service?  Oh no!  I drive a Mini Cooper and it will cost me over a thousand dollars to get this light turned off!

My mission was clear, get to Chicago, but my options were limited.

Mini Cooper dealerships aren’t easy to find in the Midwest. 

So I headed to the web for some sage advice from other owners using 10-15 keyword combinations from my phone to diagnose the problem.

Thankfully, I was ok, and most suggestions made it seem like a sensor issue, and to pull over to let the car cool off and try again in thirty minutes.  Worked like a charm.

With the Check Engine light on, there is now a constant reminder now on my dashboard that I need to get the car checked out by a dealership.

Content Marketing Service Appointment

Sitting in a McDonalds attached to a truck stop while my car cooled off, I started to think about the Content Marketing efforts we use on EnterpriseMarketer.com and how many self-diagnosis corrections I have made since the launch without seeking outside advice or review.

Changing the frequency of content release, not being consistent with the delivery of notifications to our audience, not setting up analytics correctly so I can accurately measure our growth as a community. These are just a few that I really need to stop and talk with someone else about to make sure I am prioritizing my tasks correctly.

Who Are You Gonna Call?

Does that mean I need to pay some fancy agency thousands of dollars for a consultation?  Maybe.  Or possible it just means I need to pay for lunch for a few friends and get their input on these items and an open review of the site.

Whatever I select, I need to do something soon so I can relieve the anxiety that goes along with our job as marketers.

Here are five suggested resources you can use to get some expert help for all budget options:

  • Co-workers – Your marketing team is one of the most powerful assets you have, well if you have one. However, most teams are not set up for proper feedback and what we call retrospective in Agile Marketing.  Consider getting lunch on a monthly basis and block off three hours.  Open up a dialog on the strategy and solicit feedback from all members of the team, senior to fresh out of college.
  • Agency Partners – You likely work with some brilliant agencies and most of them would love nothing more than to build a stronger relationship. This typically means some time with their thought leaders who have seen and done some great work.  These partners have solved so many problems with different clients over the past year, you would be silly not to sit down and listen to the stories they can tell.
  • Vendors – You know that fancy-pants CMS (Content Management System) your company dropped a couple salaries on? Well, those companies are not just one-time sales transactions.  Typically, there are support or annual contracts that have your business continue to pay for the advancements in the technology.  I can’t count the number of times I helped our clients and their vendors broker a relationship that gave them access to so many amazing resources to help the team using their products.
  • Marketing Clubs/Associations – Today is the perfect example of how I could attend a local event, if I lived in Chicago, to get some great advice on strategies my team could use to ensure we are running on all cylinders. Look at groups like the BAA, ANA, BMA, AMA, SMC, IABC, the list goes on and on.  In fact, we are working diligently on a new feature for com that will help you find clubs and events in your area that we hope to release in early 2017.
  • Authors – Go to Amazon.com, search for your problem, and you will find a list of books on the topic. Buy the book. Then when it arrives, sit down immediately and read it.  If it helped you solve your problem, great!  But, most of the time, that author has a side hustle where they help companies on strategy.  Contact them, get a rate sheet or a list of options for your team, and get something on your calendar.  Customer Experience questions?  Call Carla Johnson, co-author of Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing.  She has consulting services and workshops available.  Need some Agile Marketing advice or training? Andrea Fryrear and myself would love to help you out.  What about Sales and Marketing alignment? Samantha Stone, author of Unleash Possible, is incredible and would love to work with you.  And for the biggest problem we all face, personas, Ardath Albee, author of Digital Relevance, will whip your team into shape and leave you with a fantastic set of personas to really amplify your marketing.

Final Thoughts

This is not just another article telling you to do something that you just don’t have time for.  The health of your marketing efforts in this period of disruption is the most important aspect of your work to ensure you have the endurance to last and you have set up the company for success.

Your team will thank you, your company will succeed, and you will regain a little peace of mind when that Check Engine light is turned off.

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