Influence people

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Combating Bob's Law

Q: Why is marketing like dieting and exercise?

A: All three share the same enemy.  Boredom.

That fact underlies the one irrefutable law of marketing. 

Call it "Bob's Law:"

A marketer will become bored with his own content three years before his prospects even notice it.

Now here's the rub: surrendering to Bob's Law has consequences.

Early abandonment of marketing content (because you're bored with it) has the same effect as early abandonment of a diet or exercise regimen (because you're bored with them).  Namely, no effect.

B-to-B marketing guru Ardath Albee takes note of the effect in her recent blog post, "The Power of Monotony in Content Marketing. "Boredom affects all marketers for the worse, Albee says.  "We think once we've shared an idea with our target audience that they've latched onto it and understand all it implies."

But this belief is mistaken.  "Changing your focus on a whim, because something new and shiny comes along, only creates friction with your leads because they must now choose to make the effort to re-orient themselves with your new idea."

As a marketer, you must resist the overwhelming urge to abandon your content simply because you're bored.

In brief, you need to combat Bob's Law.

There are many reasons, Albee points out, why it's foolish to abandon content early.  Consider just three:
  1. We understand our content much better than prospects do.
  2. It takes up to 12 exposures for any new idea to stick.
  3. 95% of executives say their top challenge is resistance to change.
The third reason is actually the most compelling.

As a marketer, you're not recommending benefits to one lonely prospect.  You're really suggesting organizational change.

"It's doubtful in a B-to-B complex purchase that only one person needs to be convinced to embrace change," Albee warns.

"Without cementing our ideas with our prospects, affecting change is made even more challenging.  Our marketing content needs to focus on making them so conversant with our ideas that their ability to persuade change is elevated."

When all's said and done, persuading prospects to change is the real reason to combat Bob's Law.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Bob,

    The comparison to dieting and exercise is terrific! Thanks for adding some great insights and clarifications to my post. The point about organizational change really amplifies what marketers of B2B complex solutions are up against.

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  2. Thanks for commenting! For more insight into why success in B-to-B is so elusive, I'd urge every marketer to read Jeff Thull's 2006 book, "Execeptional Selling." Propelling people to change is the toughest job on earth. Thull suggests, "The smart way to create change in other people is to develop their awareness of the elements that create discomfort and dissatisfaction with staying the same."

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  3. Good advice, especially because creatives get bored so easily and are so quickly on to the next thing.

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  4. Emerson said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgobln of little minds." He never had to work in a marketing department.

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