Burying one’s head in the sand refers to an individual’s desire to avoid confrontation, reality, guilt and real or imagined danger. While we most often think of this behavior occurring in our personal lives, it’s common in business marketing as well. Here are a few examples of this ostrich phenomenon.
- The company operates without a written marketing plan. Many marketing professionals claim to have a business marketing plan, but when push comes to shove, it exists only in their minds. This is a red flag warning, regardless of the size, type and structure of the company. As the famous adage goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Companies are more likely to succeed when they have documented quantifiable goals, strategies and tactics for achievement, a budget, a monitoring system and a way of measuring performance. Avoid sticking your head in the sand. Invest the time and resources necessary to put together a plan, share it throughout the organization and implement it.
- The company doesn’t have a clearly defined vision, mission, corporate distinction, and brand. These elements are the heart of the organization. They are the foundation of the corporate culture and the promise the company makes to its customers. They drive performance as well as internal and external engagement and loyalty. And they require effort through sweat equity, deep thinking and often tolerance for conflict and differing opinions among key stakeholders. To address this challenge head on, hire a trained facilitator to unlock the collective wisdom within the organization. Use this wisdom as the groundwork to put everyone on the same page.
- The company doesn’t utilize information to its advantage. Whether it’s the failure to quantify prospect leads, collect website visitor information, determine the ROI from marketing initiatives, review the competition or collect customer preferences, a lack of data analytics can have a disastrous impact on the company. We live in an information age. Do not avoid or discount this reality. When IT, customer service, sales and marketing and other departments work together to identify what information the company has and needs to better understand customers’ expectations and interests, it propels the company forward.
- The company doesn’t communicate sufficiently, using the right messages and marketing channels. This is like shooting yourself in the foot and is worse than burying your head in the sand. So why don’t companies make their communications initiatives a priority? The answers stem from being short-staffed, the existence of conflicting goals or simply not having the expertise in-house. Regardless of the reasons. The result is costly due to lost opportunities and market position. To get your head out of the sand, determine the ideal frequency of contact with your target audiences and calendar it. If internal staffing is a problem, seek help from marketing partners. Invest the time and resources needed to make sure your messaging is customer-centric and addresses the topics of interest to your prospects and customers and research the marketplace to select the right mix of marketing channels.
Business Marketing: Psychology of the Ostrich Problem
In business, the ostrich problem may result from a fear of feedback that may reveal inadequacies and the desire to protect one’s position at all costs. But the truth of the matter is that monitoring progress and making the necessary changes are essential to success. After all, the temporary pain of negative feedback is nothing compared to the crushing experience of a project’s failure. You won’t always like the truth of how far you’ve come. But by biting the bullet and facing it anyway, you’ll be amazed at how much more you can achieve.