How to Get Out of a Marketing Slump

Mark Arnold
How to Get Out of a Marketing Slump

“Slump? I ain’t in no slump….I just ain’t hitting.”

—Yogi Berra

We all have them from time to time: slumps. Personal slumps. Professional slumps. Emotional slumps. And if you’ve worked at a financial institution for any length of time, then you’ve certainly had a marketing slump.

It’s not good when one campaign or promotion performs less than you expected. But when you have several misses in a row you can get discouraged. And maybe even downright paranoid about your job. In fact, one problem with a slump is that it can quickly turn into a rut.

In order to turn a slump into a success streak, you must take proactive steps. Never sit back. Always move forward.

Here are eight quick ways to get out of a marketing slump:

Tighten your message

If your marketing is missing the mark (pun intended) then more than likely it’s a messaging problem. You could be falling into the trap of focusing more on you and your products than on your targets and their problems. You might also be falling into the trap of trying to communicate too much. Remember this tip: cut the copy. Less is best.

Consistently learn

It’s hard to have effective marketing if your bucket is empty. You need to consistently fill your mind with new ideas. Read business books. Listen to podcasts. Watch Ted talks. The key word in this point is consistently. Carve out at least 30 minutes a day to learn. In baseball when a hitter is in a slump they often spend extra time in the batting cages. You do that by spending more time learning your marketing craft.

Conduct a marketing assessment

It’s easy to get tunnel vision in marketing. To do the same things over and over again. We often need an outsider’s opinion to see things we don’t often see. The best way to gain a fresh perspective (and get out of that slump) is with a marketing assessment. A marketing assessment will give you both strategic and tactical ways to immediately improve your marketing.

Talk to peers

As a financial marketer, you should never work in a silo. Talk to fellow professionals. Network. Pick up the phone and have a conversation (even admit you are stuck). One question to ask your peers is, “what is the best thing you've done or had the most success with in the past 12 months?” You can even form a MasterMind group of four to five individuals and meet virtually or in-person on a regular basis. If your brain is out of ideas, pick someone else’s brain.

Don't panic

In the words of baseball legend Hank Aaron, “My motto was to always keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing I would do was to keep swinging.” That applies to marketing slumps as well. Rather than freaking out, just put your head down and do the work. If you’re not a baseball fan, then remember the words of Dory from Finding Nemo: “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Or “just keep marketing, just keep marketing.”

Balance long-term and short-term goals

Never lose sight of your credit union or bank’s overall strategy. Sometimes we hit slumps because we are too singularly focused on one particular promotion or campaign. Take a step back. Examine what the overall growth goals are. Seeing the big picture will help you overcome some potential short-term losses.

Make marketing a process

As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” If you are not reaching your goals (if you’re in a slump) the reason could be your systems. For more information on this tip, check out the post Systemize Your Marketing For Success.

Adjust your mindset

Getting down or criticizing yourself never makes things better. Stop having a pity party. Positivity brings better results. If you think a particular project or promotion is going to fail, then it’s probably going to fail. As Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Pulling out of a marketing slump often starts with the six inches between your ears.

Marketing slumps do not have to be permanent ruts. If your credit union or community bank is not achieving the marketing success you’re seeking, taking the above steps will help reverse the slump.

Mark Arnold
Founder and CEO