I’ve spent a lot of this week working on a new marketing program for January. This is a good time of year to do that kind of thing, since most people are either on holidays or thinking about them, so getting a decision on a project during this window is like pulling teeth (though I did get one approval today, so add dentistry to my skill set…)
The thing is, spending a few days on something other than my core billable activity feels weird. That said, I have mentors who say that working on marketing is the only core activity I should be doing, ever, but at this stage it feels like I might be doing it to avoid “real” work.
In other words, my marketing activities might be procrastination in disguise.
I’m pretty sure they’re not, but it’s been on my mind, especially as this project goes on and on for seemingly forever (I’m great at estimating technical work, but this is video and copywriting, which is new for me.) Am I simply hiding from a slow period by “working on marketing?”
I think the answer comes from logging my work and measuring results. There’s a cost to acquiring customers, and a cost for running campaigns, even if the only expenditure is time. I’ll be able to directly measure the feedback that this upcoming campaign generates, and the key is to see if it’s working. If it’s not, and I find myself spending time working on another system that’s almost the same, then yes, that’s procrastination.
For the first run through though, it’s solid marketing work, plain and simple. Projects like this should be big enough to be capable of generating a measurable result, but small enough that if it’s a total failure (as many early lessons can be) then I haven’t lost too much in terms of sunk time.
Truthfully, this one’s a bit larger than I’d like, but I’ll be able to track if it was worth it in a fairly short period of time, so there’s a good outcome either way – there’ll be more customers, in which case I’ll double down on the program, or it’ll flop and I’ll know if I’m “hiding” from tougher work if I catch myself wasting time doing more of the same.
Photo by Nathaniel F