Momentum, what a great sounding word. It sounds a lot like its definition: "force or speed of movement; impetus, as of a physical object or course of events: The car gained momentum going downhill. Her career lost momentum after two unsuccessful films."
Over the past few months, I found myself noting when momentum seems to be an enabler and started thinking about what momentum means for a marketer. So, let's start with some enabling moments. In the NBA playoffs, the Pacers beat their nemesis (the Miami Heat) in the first home game but lost the second game. Now, the Heat had the momentum and went on the win the series. At this year's French Open final in tennis, Rafael Nadal lost the first set to Novak Djokovic but found his legs in the second set and went on to sweep three sets for the win. The announcers kept saying, "Momentum is just going against Djokovic." Okay, those are both examples from sports. How does that apply to marketing?
In the senior marketing course, M450 Marketing Strategy, the students do a backpack simulation where they have to determine the 4Ps for their backpack and beat their classmates. I frequently see momentum work the same way here. One team gets off to a great start. They hit the sweet spot in the target market and sales take off. Then, momentum is on their side. No other team can catch them.
I've also seen a similar pattern with sales reps. Something clicks and they get on a sales roll. Then one after another, sales calls go well. They get the contracts and are on "cloud nine." In these instances, momentum is an awesome and powerful force.
But what gets momentum started? I would suggest there a few ways to get momentum on your side:
- Look for easy wins. By that I mean, find shorter-term objectives that are easily within reach. When I'm out biking and I want to pick it up, I start with a downhill descent. I get up as much speed as I can (an easy win) and try to hold it as long as I can. For sales reps, use alumni or personal connections to find a friendly audience. For marketers, look at a specific tactic rather than a whole strategy — what's the best email you can send out? What's a cool way to engage customers through social media?
- Do a little research to plan better. I know, here I go with the "data-driven decisions" again. But, I'm saying it again because it works. Go back to your data. What new insight is there? Instead of guessing, think critically about what will excite customers and figure out how to deliver it. You've already got an easy win; Build on it.
- Talk it up. Have ever noticed how much "trash talking" athletes do? Why do they do that? It's confidence building. Use that early win to talk positively about yourself and build confidence. While your at it, find some friendly ears to share it with — think classmates and even your supportive Kelley faculty. Believe it or not, we actually like hearing about your successes!
Set up a series of easy wins. By the time you do that, you'll find that you've created your own momentum. If you're having trouble getting started, reach out to your Kelley professors. We know how to get the ball rolling. And we're rarely shy at sharing our opinion.