shoesI recently found myself sifting through video covers of scantily clad, fit men and women whose smiles and poses promised viewers tighter abs, sculpted legs and toned arms. I had stumbled across my workout video collection, complete with jump start diet plan inserts.  With Olivia Newton John’s voice singing “Let’s Get Physical” in the back of my mind, I asked myself,

I could get in shape quick, so why don’t I use these?

When I looked at the pristine shape all of the items were in, the answer came to me.

My ROI with quick health fixes is little to none. Why? Because one-size-fits-all does not fit my personal health needs and Rome was not built in a day.

In fitness, we need a solid foundation – a balanced diet with real foods, regular exercise, ample rest – and that foundation should be tailored to the unique needs of our individual brains and bodies. The reality is that what works for one person might not work for the rest, and it certainly won’t work overnight. Despite this truth, there has been an emergence of quick fix shortcuts in the fitness world since the ‘80s fitness movement, capitalizing on people’s thirst for easy results.  Infomercials, multi-level marketing, health clubs, dieting groups, supplement manufacturers, and even celebrities push purported fitness secrets to consumers – and we continue to buy into these tools in hopes of finding the ace in the hole. It is the eternal search for high yield in a short period of time with minimal effort.

Marketers, does this sound familiar?

We can equate those fitness shortcuts to the urge to find shortcuts in our marketing efforts. There has been a surge in marketing businesses offering “quick fix” solutions that claim to achieve huge response in a condensed timeframe – but seasoned marketers know there is no such thing as a quick fix!  It’s a true challenge to take our time and build a foundation to work from, but we must do so to obtain the results we want. Our marketing foundation provides a strong core to fall back on, and from there we can develop concrete short term strategies to achieve our goals. Here are some essential components for a solid long term marketing foundation:

  • Mission and Goals: Just like a good fitness program needs a clearly defined mission and solid goals, so does a strong marketing strategy. Whether you plan to lose ten pounds or raise $10,000 for your nonprofit, spell it out and keep it top of mind the whole way.
  • Marketing and Research: Do your homework. Know your market. Know your product and where it fits in the market. Know your competition and how you stack up against them.
  • Target Audience: Understanding what motivates your audience is at the heart of any successful direct marketing program. Get to know the people you are trying to reach and identify the tone, message and channels that work best with them.
  • Key Messaging: Use your knowledge of your market and audience, combined with your mission and goals, to devise the primary campaign message. Keep it front and center so you can stay on track for the long term.
  • Reporting: Whether you’ve completed a fitness program or a marketing campaign, report and analyze your results. Did you lose the inches you wanted, or get the responses you sought from your target audience?  Look at who responded and the channels that worked so you can improve your next campaign.

Don’t be lured by quick fix promises. Building a firm foundation based on marketing fundamentals will keep you focused and ensure your efforts are on target no matter what the market throws at you. By keeping your eye on the prize, your ROI will prove that hard work and staying the course pay off in the long run.