Is short-termism killing your marketing?

Kevin Gibbons
Marketing and Entrepreneurship
3 min readDec 9, 2016

“We need results yesterday”

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Have you ever heard this before? Of course…

One of the challenges every marketer faces is the balance between doing what works short-term vs what is right long-term.

If you look at the sports teams that succeed, the factors are quite common:

  • Stability
  • Shared vision
  • Culture following core values
  • Willingness to try new things
  • Focus on continually improving performance

It’s the same with any team — even the short-term safe bets are no guarantee of success...

The fear of failure can hold you back, probably a lot more than you realize.

The key is setting expectations and aligning goals.

If your client/boss wants short-term results, you’re unlikely to win if you only focus on the long-term gains.

It’s probably not the fault of your boss/clients either — if you get deeper into the problem, it’s how companies are typically run:

If shareholders are focusing on short-term value, that gets spread down into performance targets, team bonuses, quarterly meeting reports, etc…

However, quick fix after quick fix rarely solves much in the long-term — you’ll end up going around in circles, rather than really building upon something.

The best results I’ve ever seen have come from small gradual increases, month-on-month-(on-month)…

The big exciting spike doesn’t hold as much value when you’re analyzing results over years, rather than months.

The compound interest of steady/consistent growth may not get people quite as excited vs a short burst campaign — but it’s where the real returns lie if you have the patience to play the long game:

The Compounding Returns Of Content Marketing:

There’s no problem in building a short-term tactical plan, but for real success it needs to be linked to a medium and longer-term strategic objective.

I like to think of it as a hierarchy of KPIs. Pick one big goal, ideally one that is aligned throughout the business (which normally relates to money, in one form or another)…

And then you can work down from the business goals, to understand how you can achieve this. Before working back up again into terms of forming your strategy — to ensure that you’re building upon your successes, to hit meaningful targets:

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Next time you’re asked about short-term results, my advice is to acknowledge this, but look to change the conversation into short-term wins, that can build into longer-term success.

About The Author

Kevin Gibbons is co-founder of Re:signal. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.