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Slow Marketing: How to Deliver Faster Results by Slowing Down (Yes, You Read That Right)

by Ann Handley  |  
September 13, 2016
  |  5,491 views

This is the first article in an occasional series about the value of slow marketing in our fast-paced, always-on, agile, want-it-yesterday, mile-a-minute world. Yet, there is a critical need to slow down. Why? Because doing so allows you to achieve real results—faster.

Marketing is impatient.

We want more leads, more brand recognition, more social shares.

We want a fatter pipeline, fuller funnel, more ideas, and (often) more credit. And we want it now.

I get that. (I'm impatient, too.)


Yet, ironically, the companies that will have the biggest marketing wins this fall won't get there by going faster. Instead, they will get there by... wait for it... slowing down.

In our fast-paced, always-on, agile, want-it-yesterday, mile-a-minute world... there is a critical need to slow down. Why? Because doing so allows you to achieve real results—faster.

Or, rather, we need to identify those key moments when we need to slow down, because doing so allows the business to grow faster. (And better. And with more integrity.)


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Ann Handley is chief content officer of MarketingProfs, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Ridiculously Good Content, and co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules. Ann co-founded ClickZ.com, one of the first sources of interactive marketing news and commentary.

Twitter: @MarketingProfs and @AnnHandley.

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  • by Neil Mahoney Tue Sep 13, 2016 via web

    I fully agree. Most Marketers start their Marketing-Sales process before they thoroughly analyze the key segments that exist in every market. Find the heavy user segments. Learn their key wants & needs. Compare your strengths & weaknesses vs. competition. Match your strengths to those key segments and develop a short, persuasive Value Proposition that sets you above and apart from competitors -- then sell, sell, sell.

  • by Tami Demayo Tue Sep 13, 2016 via web

    Head nodding all the way through, Ann!
    It is important not only to slow down, but also to resist the urge to cling to buzzwords or offer tidy, idealized solutions to marketing challenges that are inherently complex or not yet well defined. Data visualization pioneer Edward Tufte addressed this human shortcoming when he discussed the presentation of data:
    "...a persistent *rage to conclude* denies the complexities, ambiguities and uncertainties of the primary evidence. A substantial selection bias also operates: news wins out over olds, as recency of evidence decides relevance of evidence."
    [http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0001to]

  • by Chris Marr Tue Sep 13, 2016 via web

    Love it Ann. I've been thinking about it ever since we had a brief chat about it a few months ago.

    I've definitely got something to add to this...I need to articulate it clearly though. I'll be back.

    Shared with the other CMA folks too, and I'll see what they have to say about it :)

  • by Ameer Ahmad Wed Sep 14, 2016 via web

    I agree with this one. Rushing while experiencing slow market will just probably lead to a loss. All we need is thorough planning, patience and good timing. Experiment and observe until you learn the pattern and technique.

  • by Jada B. Wed Sep 14, 2016 via web

    Great article! Everything has a process and a lot of it is the tedious slow parts that influence the grand outcomes. This is how you can accomplish efficiency. Again, great work!

  • by Amy D. Thu Sep 15, 2016 via web

    Our marketing department works in a very silo environment. We often let others dictate our movements verses analyzing the need or issue. Though these decisions are coming from the top down, unfortunately. In-house marketing departments often have the understanding of what they need to do, but when you have top administration not giving you the respect you deserve, they work off the cuff verses analysis and collecting the information that will truly drive the initiative. I love the description of "slow marketing" to which I think I will use in our next meeting!! This was a great read that I think hits home for a lot of people! Thanks!

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