Although you would not necessarily know it the way some marketers act, marketing, that is, working as a marketer, means you are in a service business. Plumbers fix your leaky pipes. Contractors work on your house. Marketers work on promoting your company for you. Doing a good job means you win, which means the marketer wins. That is how we do things at Clayman & Associates, at any rate.
When you are in a service business, your inclination tends to be to take care of your customers first. This is not selfless. Happy customers means your company has a better chance of surviving and thriving. However, most companies we talk to, and we, too, truly care about doing a good job for customers. At our agency, client work ALWAYS comes before things we as a company might need. We squeaked in this new website that you’re looking at, and we had to set hard, definite deadlines to make sure we didn’t keep pushing our own website to the back burner.
All of this came to mind over the weekend because I had written a post and crossed it off my list. I wasn’t happy with it but I scheduled it anyway. I have a LOT of projects I need to work on for clients right now, and I let myself think, “Well, it’s good <enough>, and as a marketing firm, the most important thing is that we keep generating content. Every post doesn’t need to be a pearl.” Woah.
You may not have this problem in regards to content development or other marketing tactics for your company. Maybe you really need an update to your ERP system, but that might inconvenience your customers, so you live with “good enough.” Maybe your company needs a new website, but you have a chance to buy a new piece of equipment that will help you work more efficiently for your customers, so you figure your website is good enough. More scary, maybe you’ve heard that a new company is coming on strong and could be very competitive with you, but you figure you should spend your time helping your customers versus researching these new guys. You know enough, and you’re good enough at handling competitors as it is, right?
Complacence is a siren for the business world. We’re all wearing many hats, to use that old metaphor. Business has changed dramatically since the Great Recession. When you have more work than you feel like you can handle, it’s particularly easy to be lulled into a sense of false security where your own company is concerned.
It was popular a few years ago to say that you should never “phone it in.” You should never go through the motions of running any facet of your company, from marketing to HR to management. Yes, you might be just fine for one or two or five years if you keep things “good enough,” but only if you’re lucky. Complacence isn’t just a failure to prioritize your company’s needs. Complacence is handing your competitors the keys, because they just might be revving their engines and looking for more. While you are settling for good enough because you only want to serve your customers (certainly a noble position), your competitors are researching new, better ways of doing things. They’re hiring new people who bring new skills and new ideas. Your competitors are moving. Complacence is you tossing up a “yield” sign.
Avoiding complacence takes time, dedication, and discipline. It’s rationalizing having that meeting instead of delaying it. It’s rationalizing investing in that new website or that new ERP System because you need it now, and it will pay for itself later. It’s NOT rationalizing that good enough is good enough.
Have you gotten complacent? It’s easy to do, but it’s dangerous, and it can be insidious, too. Watch for it, and remember, you can’t serve your customers if you are not around.
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrispiascik/4687512000/ via Creative Commons