Letting go of tired strategies
Before the internet, the Yellow Pages was king. I remember looking through the business listings for the little cartoons people often put in their ads. It was a book you wouldn’t want to have thrown at you; in its heyday, it was 4″ thick! Since everyone got one delivered to their home along with their home telephone service (we’re pre-mobile here as well) it was a very effective advertising channel to find plumbers, lawyers, dog washers, etc.
But times change. Human behavior changes. Google, Yelp, and scores of other services now solve the knowledge gap that the Yellow Pages once filled. And online information is constantly evolving. It’s even optimized for your location. In contrast to the speed of technology, the Yellow Pages might as well be printed on clay tablets. But, some people are still putting ads in the Yellow Pages. I got one delivered the other day. I’m surprised the wind didn’t blow it away.
Sure, not everyone is comfortable using the web to find a roofer, but the percentage of people who aren’t is getting smaller each day. At some point, a business has to say: “That’s it. The returns aren’t worth the cost.” You probably already have.
Think about your work. What are your personal “Yellow Pages”? Which strategies are you still employing that are past their time? Is it a marketing campaign that is no longer delivering? Donors or supporters you’ve been chasing with no results? A vendor that has consistently dropped the ball? What are you doing out of habit that you haven’t measured? How has people’s behavior changed?
Shine a light on the tired strategies hiding in the shadows. There is probably more than one. Observe them, measure them, and if they are falling short of expectations, don’t feel bad about eliminating them. They were probably good in their time. But to make mental, financial, and operational room for new strategies to grow, you have to let go of the old ones.