Brian Hamilton

Systems: What Your Marketing Strategy & Air Conditioning Have in Common

Picture yourself in this scenario: You went on a summer family vacation and decided to save a few dollars by leaving the air conditioning off at home. If you have ever been that person, you know exactly the feeling you come home to. You’re tired from traveling home and unpacking, and you just want to relax on the couch, but it’s HOT.

What happens next? You decide you are going to crank down the AC, but you know as well as I do that it’s not instantly cold in your house, you have to wait. Then as you are wondering why it’s not getting cold faster, you realize that someone in your family was also feeling hot, but had the idea to open the window and turn the fan on instead of turning on the AC. The frustration ensues.

Systems are all around us. “A system is an interconnected set of elements that is coherently organized in a way that achieves something” (Thinking In Systems). Whether recognized or not, we are all affected by and interact within many types of systems; your air conditioning for example. But even if we’re aware of a system, we’re not always aware of how it is being affected. There will always be a result, by definition, but is that result what we’re looking for? How do we process the environment that we operate within efficiently? And how do we account for the relationships among the subsystems in that environment? Think about how many times you hear someone say, “it’s hot in here,” or “it’s cold in here.”  That is feedback telling us that we are failing to operate the system effectively or that there is some element not being accounted for appropriately; the intended purpose of the system (comfort) is not being accomplished. Much more complex is the system of marketing your business, and far more costly when we fail to operate that system effectively.

Your Marketing Strategy As a System

Much like the AC system we described, your marketing strategy is also a system. Interconnections and elements, a function or purpose, and delayed feedback telling you how quickly or if you will achieve the desired outcome.

Branding, strategy, web development, UI/UX design, graphic design, print, social media, SEO, PPC, CRO, and more! These are all subsystems of the larger marketing strategy system. How do you manage the feedback towards continuous improvement and system prosperity?

Whether you are a small business with a remarkable service to offer, an engineer with a ground breaking product, or a marketing manager for a successful e-commerce, you can sense the weight of importance behind your marketing strategy and all of the elements that factor towards long term success. As complex as the interconnections are and as challenging as they may be to manage efficiently, there is a common trait to any system that can be used to help guide us: feedback.

Feedback: Is it hot in here?

Feedback tells us whether we are adapting or not, and whether the strategy that we’re implementing is producing the desired outcome. The salesman sees the commission check, the CEO sees the quarterly bonus, and the shareholders can’t wait to see the stock price jump.

We are naturally inclined to look for feedback; to understand if what we’re doing makes sense.

The challenge to managing feedback is that it is always delayed, and feedback can only affect future behavior. The behavior that drove the feedback currently coming in cannot be affected, feedback is not received efficiently.

When was the last time you thought your business could become more than it is today? Or you saw an opportunity to expand your brand? Those thoughts crossing your mind are an example of feedback, although subtle.

Maybe your feedback is more obvious. Maybe you have an amazing product and don’t feel like your branding fits, or you have thousands of potential customers waiting for you to reach them online, or maybe you blew your PPC budget last month and didn’t get the results you were hoping for. Maybe it’s starting to get very hot and you need to turn down the AC.

Do You Need a Repairman to Check Your System? I Know a Guy.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “if you keep putting in what you’re putting in, you’ll keep getting out what you’re getting out.” In other words, if you don’t change what you’re doing, the result won’t change either. If there isn’t a marketing system overhaul, or at least a rework of a particular element (subsystem), then you cannot expect to see improved results.

You may be comfortable; your business might be exactly where you want it. But it is far more likely that you want to see your business grow beyond where it is today, and for that to happen something needs to change.

You typically aren’t going to go turn the AC down until you have feedback signaling discomfort. In the same way, you typically won’t realize that your marketing strategy is faulty until you feel the heat. What you can do is have a dedicated team managing the system, or have a marketing ‘repairman’ come out to take a look.

At MC2 we specialize in marketing system optimization through a variety of channels to achieve your business goals. At the heart of what we do is strategic and digital marketing, with solutions in consultation, web development, UI/UX design, graphic design, print, social media, SEO, PPC, and all things digital and print conversion.

Businesses exist in an open-system environment. To survive the ever-changing elements of this environment, the business must continuously improve and implement strategy effectively. Whether you need to build a strategy from the ground up, or simply need a team to deploy your marketing as a system, MC2 Design Group, Inc. can be your integrated marketing partner.