This is Your Brain on Marketing

Photo by Fiona

Photo by Fiona

Today is a snow day.  Our town announced school closings yesterday, anticipating an epic blizzard.

And not one snow flake fell before 9:15am.  If you are a working parent with school age children, you can feel my pain.

Couldn’t we go with an early dismissal?

But my kids are thrilled.  Naturally.  I loved snow days too when I was a kid. 

My daughter Fiona is hoping that this snow storm is a doozy, cancelling her Sunday school this week as well.

Fiona has a long-term project due on Sunday that she hasn’t really started.  She’s had the schedule for months.  She’s known that she needed to interview someone in a specific organization and write a paper based on the interview to submit this Sunday.

She’ll be emailing the interview questions today, in hopes of getting a response and still pulling this assignment through in time.

Once she wakes up, that is.

In fairness to Fiona, she isn’t really wired for long-term planning.  No adolescent is.

Teenage parenting expert Joani Geltman explains that adolescent brains experience much of their activity in the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center.  It’s constantly dealing with thoughts in the moment and often goes into sensory overload.

The last part of the brain to develop is the prefrontal cortex.  It’s just behind our foreheads and provides our ability to plan, organize and understand consequences.  The connections to this part of the brain don’t finish developing until kids reach their 20s.

This knowledge has helped me redouble my patience with my kids on more than one occasion.

It has also helped me understand the predicament of Brands in Adolescence.

Brands in Adolescence have existed for several years and have viable businesses.  Their businesses manage to meet payroll, but have additional capacity to fill and employees to keep busy.

Brands in Adolescence experience inconsistent growth like their human counterparts – spurts when a flurry of new customers comes on board, lulls when fulfilling customer needs consumes the staff so that no one can pursue new business.

The up and down nature of the business can result in an erratic brand experience for customers, jeopardizing repeat business opportunities.

Owners of Brands in Adolescence feel the pressure.  Steeped in the demands of current customer needs and operational upkeep with a lean staff, they face the ever present urgency of finding the next set of customers.  They rarely have time to think, plan or market.

You could say that the brand is operating in its amygdala.

And therein lies the rub.

With marketing, the brand’s growth would steady and relieve some of the pressure on the owner.

Marketing on a regular basis would help new customers find your brand instead of you, the owner, having to go out and find them.

But marketing requires some planning.  And there is rarely time for marketing with the day-to-day operations consuming your long hours and sometimes invading your weekends.

How do you escape this chicken and egg situation?

Like the parent of a teenager, you need to help your brand develop its prefrontal cortex.  And like the parent of a teenager, you do that by demonstrating with your own.

  1. Commit to stopping the madness.  Stake out some time to plan how you will grow your brand.  Book this as an appointment and honor it.
  2. Choose your marketing tools.  Select two or three marketing tactics that will get you in front of your customers and prospects.
  3. Set up a marketing schedule and budget.  Decide what will get done and when to keep you in front of your prospects and customers on a regular basis.
  4. Meet deadlines.  Schedule the time you need to execute the marketing as a non-negotiable appointment.  Or delegate the execution to a reliable resource.
  5. Make marketing a habit.  Respect it as being as important as the other operational steps you take to help your business function.

Planning and scheduling your marketing ahead of time takes the decision-making out of the moment and makes it another operational item to execute.  Having the hard decisions of what marketing to do and when out of the way greatly increases the chances that it will get done. 

And that prospects will soon start calling you.

As for me, this completes my newsletter marketing for this month.  I’ve got to go remind Fiona to email her interview questions and then think about picking up a shovel.

Have a great snow day!

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