Marketing lessons by a fish named Tank

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Let me introduce you to our family fish named Tank. Our oldest son, Ethan, who is 8 years old, begged for a fish. As parents and at the time, we thought that a fish would be a great way for us to introduce responsibility to Ethan. It would teach him how to care for the fish, how to feed it and what it meant to actually keep something alive without us having to remind him to take care of it. What were we THINKING?

(disclaimer): let me assure you that Tank is still alive thanks to our intervention, which most parents that have tried to instill the same responsibility on a child have undoubtedly learned (and thank goodness it was only a fish!).

After doing our research about the best type of fish to buy, we headed to the store. The checklist: a bowl, rocks, distilled water and beta food. We splurged a little extra for the decorative bowl and turquoise stones (it needs to be aesthetically pleasing, right?). Our son, excited about the new fish, raced to put the fish in his room after everything was put together. At first, it was all hands on deck. Everyone was checking on the fish… making sure it was fed and the water was clean. But after a few weeks, the newness died off, as almost did poor Tank who had been neglected.

So what exactly does this have to do with our marketing efforts? Well, it’s simple really. When you decide to embark on a new adventure (in our case; a fish, and in your case, a new marketing or online strategy), you better be sure that you have a common goal in mind that is effectively executed and understood by everyone in your company, or you will not succeed. Had my husband and I sat down and wrote out a feeding and cleaning schedule for Tank the fish, and who was responsible for overseeing Ethan’s responsibilities, the task at hand may have had more of an impact and would not have failed.

Want to make sure your marketing doesn’t fail? Here are a few tips that might help you get started:

1.) Know your goals and what you want to achieve and write them down
If you don’t have any goals to measure, how will you know how effective your marketing is? You also need to be detailed about your goals and follow the SMART rule (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time specific).

For example: To grow by 50% in overall website visitors from 5000 to 10,000 per month, by December 1, 2013.

2.) Delegate responsibility
Not one single person should have the task of keeping your marketing efforts up to date unless you are hiring an inbound marketing agency. Everyone in the company has a vested interest in making your marketing succeed. Try and delegate tasks. If Susie, Bob and Bill are responsible for the company blog, make sure they have an editorial calendar in place so that they know who is doing what and when. If Tom is keeping your partners page up to date, make sure he knows it. The bottom line: make sure everyone knows who is doing what so you know that everyone is on the same page.

3.) Keep your content up to date
Your marketing efforts need to be consistent, timely and relevant. If you aren’t up to date with your marketing, what is that saying about your company? Using social media and a blog are great ways to keep your company looking fresh.

4.) Don’t let the ball drop
You’ve set smart goals, delegated responsibility to your employees and are keeping up with social media efforts. But the ball cannot stop here. The ultimate responsibility falls on you to make sure that your employees are doing what’s promised. If you have monthly meetings, add “marketing updates” to the agenda and spend 5 minutes asking about the status of everyone’s role and figure out how it’s measuring against your goals. Are you on track to meet your SMART goals or do you need to refine your strategy? If you need to refine your strategy, be sure to get everyone on the same page and make sure that they have everything they need to move forward.