Want to be successful? Learn to persevere.

I don’t believe in overnight success.

Despite the headlines and polished PR, when you dig deeper, you often find that before an “overnight success”,  there were years of learning, struggle, and perseverance.

Some of the most “successful” people I know have worked incredibly hard and are often still working. Here are my top three:

  1. Mark Harbottle  spent 11 years building a boutique  technology businesses before his 99Designs became a household name.  
  2. Hillary Dixon spent 14 years building her $58 million recruitment company before selling the company to her team.
  3. Shane Delia spent 9 years building his food empire, through restaurants Maha and Biggie Smalls, SBS TV series and innovative partnerships with Uber Eats.

These entrepreneurs are inspiring because they remind me that building something of value isn’t simply executing one good idea. It’s a daily slog. It’s agility. It’s long term vision with short-term execution. And most of all it takes perseverance.

It’s the same with great marketing.

Great marketing isn’t simply a campaign, or a new website, or an updated logo. Growing your brand, product, customer base and reputation takes years.

And yet when I speak to some of Australia’s largest brands, the predominant focus is still on short term campaigns and how to make an impact here and now.

That kind of focus puts businesses in the path of disruption by competitors who are experimenting, investing in the future, and getting incrementally better.

After working on more than 100 digital marketing audits across various sectors and industries, I’m  convinced that a high focus on campaign-driven marketing is inversely related to long term success.

Success needs a long term approach, while delivering short term wins.

Great strategy is not a presentation. It’s about having a strategic mindset all the time. It’s about trying and failing and winning 365 days of the year.

But you wouldn’t be able to tell if you looked at most Marketing award ceremonies.  For the last decade, the Marketing Industry has been especially obsessed with short-term results, and immediate focuses.

But that’s starting to change.

This year, our client Medela Australia is a finalist in the Australian Marketing Institute’s Marketing Excellence Awards. And the shocking part? It’s not for a one off campaign or expensive TVC, but for their dual horizon approach that has turned Medela Australian into the leading local subsidiary of its global brand.

That times are changing. Our industry is starting value strategy and a long term approach.  
So where do you sit? Do you mostly focus on the immediate short-term? Or do you spend time on strategic projects with a high future value?

The challenge for successful Marketers is to balance today’s immediate needs, with tomorrow’s future. That takes pragmatism, a strategic approach, and a double measure of perseverance.

Source: Richenda Vermeulen, CEO of ntegrity

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