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The Rubber Band Theory of Better Marketing Behavior

By Jun 12, 2014

rubber-bands“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.”—Albert Einstein

This is exactly what many marketing leaders do every day.  They talk about connecting to revenue, aligning with sales, and wanting a seat at the table, yet they fail.  Why?  They are unwilling to do hard work and change themselves to accomplish these admirable goals.  Too often marketers seek a quick fix by obsessing about the latest piece of technology or the latest trend in marketing.  They lack a holistic approach to making change stick and fall into non-successful behaviors, over and over.

A technique used by therapists to modify negative behaviors is snapping a rubberband worn around the wrist.  When the person is faced with the choice of a bad behavior (eating a piece of cake or smoking a cigarette), snapping the rubberband brings them back to reality and can help them make a better choice. I used a similar technique for my own recent transformation.

Last July, I decided to “transform” myself by adopting new behaviors relating to food, fitness and health.  I did not go on a diet and join a gym.  I created a new relationship with food and fitness through a program called Maximized Living.  I changed my behavior around food by foregoing processed foods, sugar, and carbs in exchange for nutrient rich, organic foods.  I re-engaged with Cross-Fit and can now clean and jerk 100 pounds.

The rubberband snap for me everyday was my daily weigh-in.  First thing each morning, I climbed on that scale and recorded my weight on a pad attached to my bathroom wall.  This allowed me to be totally honest with myself and practice good behaviors.

This was a life-style change, fueled and sustained by a new set of behaviors that are concrete, observable, and measurable.  As marketing begins to transform from being a cost center to a revenue center, it is a life-style change and needs to be fueled by a new set of behaviors.

There are four key areas that marketing executives should examine and look to make behavior modifications—accountability, change management, sales & marketing alignment and technology.

Accountability means direct, financial accountability – not the fuzzy kind of numbers.  You need to be able to not just report on the revenue impact from marketing in the last quarter, but forecast the impact on revenue for the upcoming period.

Sales and marketing alignment is so critical that it emerged as the number one element for success with many companies that I have talked to—but often, marketers don’t understand how to really make this happen.

Ask yourself if you are practicing the behaviors that are going to transform your marketing group from being a cost center to a revenue center.  If not, it’s time to take a behavior inventory.  Make a list of behaviors that will produce the outcomes you need to achieve. For example:

Bad Behaviors

  1. Reporting on activity based KPIs
  2. Not attending sales pipeline meetings
  3. Using a “Spray & Pray” approach to emails

Good Behaviors

  1. Reporting on metrics that matter to the business
  2. Attending and being a part of the annual sales planning process
  3. Focusing on a two-way digital dialog with prospects and clients fueled by customer centric content

Remember, talking the talk alone won’t get you there…you need to act.   Walk the walk with these new set of behaviors and get on with your journey. No one ever said it would be easy, but the road to better marketing is your trail to blaze. The rewards are worth it.

Debbie Qaqish is the principal partner and chief strategy officer for The Pedowitz Group. The first 100 readers who email Debbie  with one take-away from this article will receive a complimentary copy of her book, “Rise of the Revenue Marketer: An Executive Playbook.” 

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