Doing Nothing Is Your Worst Enemy

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Marketing Mistake: Not recognizing your most formidable competitor: the decision to do nothing

While traditional marketing training and education provides focus on how to analyze and thwart competitors, not enough attention is spent on how to overcome your most formidable competitor: the decision to do nothing. It’s vital that your marketing efforts are designed not simply to promote your solutions or services as superior to the competitors’—but to make it also clear that doing nothing is a poor decision posing significant potential risk and consequences.

Many technology companies fail to consider this very significant “competitor” in their marketing. It’s easy to become focused on positioning and messaging designed to show one’s products or services are superior to others available. But it’s not as often that we truly think about how to also ensure we’re addressing the customer’s potential decision to do nothing (or to significantly delay any purchase action).

By not proactively addressing this very real customer non-decision option, you run the risk of spending significant time, money, and energy proving to customers that you have the best products or services with superior technology—but not convincing the customer that doing nothing or delaying purchase until next year is just not an alternative worth considering.

Similar to the customer’s decision to do nothing is the decision to do it themselves. Services companies, web developers, and software companies are particularly vulnerable to this sales opponent—and must similarly address this customer decision option straight on with solid messaging and marketing.

Steps to avoid this mistake

Highlight the risks of doing nothing (or the decision to do it themselves).

Evaluate your current marketing messaging to ensure that it clearly communicates to customers the significant risks involved with not implementing your technology or services and/or attempting to do it themselves with their internal resources. Identify all the risks involved with these bad choices—and use them in your marketing materials.

Treat the decision to do nothing (or the decision to do it themselves) as if it’s one of your largest competitors.

Because it is. Study it, know it, and be prepared to address and combat any benefits the decision to do nothing may be perceived to offer (such as saving money in the short term, avoiding the hassle of introducing a new technology, etc.). As with your major competitors, you should be prepared to perform a quick assessment to quantify the true, long-term costs of doing nothing when compared to implementing your solution or services (e.g., total cost of ownership over time).

In your outbound marketing campaigns, create a sense of urgency.

It’s vital to thwart any potential decision to either do nothing or delay a decision. Don’t be afraid to use fear in your marketing and advertising—it’s still one of the most effective sales incentives. Help your prospective customers understand that while doing nothing (or significantly delaying any purchase decision) may seem an easy, money-saving decision, the risks involved are far too great to overcome those short-term savings.