Kelford Labs Daily: Fueling your marketing

The first rule is patience and prep.

Kelford Labs Daily: Fueling your marketing

My favorite style of vacation is camping. I’m never happier than when I’m kicking back in a camp chair and reading a book as lunch cooks away over the fire.

Which means, I’ve made a lot of camp fires in my time. There are few things as satisfying as getting a small one going, in the damp and hazy dawn, so I can make my morning coffee. Add in some rain and the challenge of not using matches or lighters, and you’ve got a recipe for my kind of fun.

And here’s what I’ve learned about building a camp fire:

No amount of additional fuel will help you if you haven’t got any embers. Adding more sticks will only hurt if there’s nothing already burning.

So the first rule of making a fire (after ensuring you are incredibly safe and responsible!!) is patience.

It’s all about making sure you’ve got the conditions ready for a sustainable flame, by prepping all your starting materials first, like some dry leaves, paper, or lint. And you always need way more than you think.

The easiest mistake you can make is trying to rush it. Getting impatient and piling on wood and realizing all you’ve done is smother it. And now you’ve got to start all over.

Anyway, the same thing is true about marketing.

Adding more fuel—advertising, cold outreach, networking—won’t help if there’s nothing already burning. If you haven’t already demonstrated that what you’re doing works.

Too often, a business’s marketing starts struggling, so they immediately think they need to spend more money. But here’s the thing: fuel, in the form of money, should only be spent once things are already working.

Once your marketing messages are performing well in person, at trade shows, in conversations, and in sales conversations.

Once you have prospects cutting you off and saying, “That’s it, we need to work together,” as you’re describing how you work and why you work that way.

Once there’s momentum working in your favor.

If your messages aren’t resonating—igniting interest—adding more fuel will just smother whatever was already there. You’ll end up prioritizing adding more and more budget and more and more effort, piling on resources that will never truly catch.

What marketing takes first, above all, is patience and preparation.

Make sure you have the materials you need—a strong and clear value proposition and concise and creative marketing messagesbefore you think about adding more fuel or energy or money.

Start slow, take your time, and focus on getting a few embers glowing before you even think about throwing on more sticks.

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