Newton’s second law is the most powerful of the three. His formula, F = ma (where F is applied force, m is mass, and a is acceleration), says that the more force, the more acceleration. The way it works is obvious when you think about objects, but how does it apply to business?
Let’s think about snowballs.
When building a snowman, you need three snowballs. You start by forming a small ball in your hands. Then, you place it on the ground and roll it through fresh snow. Every inch it travels, it picks up snow and increases in size.
If the ground is flat and the snow cooperative, it doesn’t take a lot of force to move the ball at first. As the size increases, the weight creates a resistance to the movement. It takes greater force to move the snowball the same distance.
The same is true with growing your business. When you are first starting out or have a hot item, you have the newness factor. Generating PR is relatively easy and consumers are curious, so your business starts to grow. Unfortunately, the “new kid on the block” syndrome is short lived. It becomes harder and harder to expand your influence.
Then the flat surface morphs into a hill. It takes all of your energy to push the snowball forward. What happened to customers finding you and reporters responding to your press releases? They’ve moved on to the next new thing leaving you fighting gravity and friction for survival.
Marketing uphill happens.
When the newness of your business or the last hot item wears off, a mountain of resistance appears. This is when the reality of Newton’s second law kicks in. You have to have a boatload of money (and sometimes even that doesn’t work) or a new idea to move your snowball to the next level.
Some companies accept this as a fact of life and spend the next few decades trying to drive customers to buy. They have a marketing formula that they apply year in and out. It creates a step effect in their sales charts because sales repeatedly move up a bit and level off. The pattern is steady and predictable until the economy drops or their market changes, or any other external force is applied. (See Newton’s First Law.)
Then there are the companies that realize that uphill marketing is required to move their business to the next level. They have an action plan for the direction and force required to make it to top. And, when they get there, they know that they have work to fend off the competition. You want your company to be in this group.
When you plan for uphill marketing, sometimes you get lucky. When you reach the top there is a downhill slope on the other side. This is when your message goes viral or you land a spot on Oprah or some combination of the two. This is a good thing as long as you have a plan in place for the volume. Otherwise, you end up alienating customers and prospects.
Reducing the resistance decreases the force required to move the snowball.
The anti-resistance task force makes the snowball move easier. It consists of tools and tactics that build relationships. If you use them well, your marketing efforts consistently yield great results. Some tips to get you started:
- Be known for the quality of your service. Always lead with your best shot. If your customers trust you, it is easier to encourage others to join them.
- Use social media tools like twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin to introduce your company to prospects and connect with customers. Consistency is the key to success in this new media.
- Email marketing is a great tool for communicating with your customers. If you are using it for promotions only, you are missing the opportunity to solidify your relationships.
- Give freely. Fill your website, tweets, and blog with information that helps others. Focus on tips that benefit your customers. It improves your traffic, search engine optimization, and branding. And, it is good karma.
- Build on your relationships. Ask your customers to introduce your company to their friends. If you are providing good service, then they won’t hesitate.
Growing a company is hard, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun. When everything is done right, the snowball appears to be in perpetual motion. This frees you to make more snowballs. After all, it takes more than one for a snowman. You don’t have to tell anyone how you reduced resistance and planned for growth. Let them think that you are able to defy the laws of physics.