What is more important for a startup? a 12 month marketing plan or a series of marketing tests to conduct within the next 30 days?
Almost every growth hacker or marketer that works with an early stage startups will tell you – ‘focus on the next 30 days, who knows if we’ll still be here in 12 months.’ They are mostly right, but also deadly wrong.
It’s true – planning a year ahead is equal to planning on how you’ll spend your lottery winnings before even buying a ticket, but it is also essential for you to understand where’s your end goal.
In order to give actual meaning to these 30 days of tests, you need to have an idea of how you would like your next 12 months results look like.
This is the real struggle between long term and short term goals.
A series of tests will lead you nowhere without a plan.
As I see it, you always need to sustain two workflows at once:
Short term: tests we’er conducting at the moment and spend 80% of our time one – as they need to be completed and show results faster. The cycles per project here should be short and valbuble.
Long Terms: Things that will take longer to see benefit from, but needs to be done. This is where we’ll put 20% of our effort on daily basis.
Lets take Brand Awareness for example:
PR is a short term that mostly does well as a part of the long term goal.
Lets say you are focusing your next month on getting coverage – it means you find the right reporters to pitch, build your press kit, create you personal email pitch etc. Focus on this 80% of your time next month, pitch to reportes and get your story out. It’s a short term in terms of PR cycle but it helps your progress with your “Brand awarness’ long term goal.
Brand awareness through blogging, is solely a long term goal. You have to put effort into making it work for you, but it’s almost never a quick win. If you’re a new startup and all you do for marketing is only blogging, you will find it really hard to gain initial traction.
Combine blogging and PR together, and you will get faster traction.
I’m actually not sure this is the best example, but it’s the one I can think of at the moment (I do a 10 minute rule on this Tumblr blog – more on the later).
I will write a more in-depth post about this notion in the next couple of weeks, as I feel this post is too simplictic in trying to get a complicated message across.
But would love to get your initial feedback, what do you think?
How are you managing your company long/short term goals?