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Written by The Mezzanine Group
on May 20, 2010

I started a blog series the other day on the Seven Deadly Sins of B2B Marketing for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses. The first Sin is Inconsistency – read more about it here.

The Second Sin is ‘Expecting Instant Results’. In our instant-gratification world, few people want to hear that success takes time. But the truth is that 'overnight success' is a misleading and often harmful idea. Even Mozart, who was a musical prodigy at age 4, took 13 more years before he began to produce world-class music.

Success in marketing also defies shortcuts. Attaining measurable results takes from months to years. Marketing is – and should be – a managed investment that pays future dividends. Like an investment, if it's properly planned and managed, it provides solid results. Like an investment, if you throw your money at the first promise of 'instant results' or 'get rich quick', you’re likely to fare poorly.

Part of marketing success is reliant on third-party influences. Search Engine Optimization, a major part of today's marketing toolbox, is an ongoing process where even seeing initial results can take weeks or months. Even if you optimize a website, build links, and create content at a breakneck pace, you still have to wait for Google/Yahoo/Bing to take notice. No one has ever jumped up the rankings overnight.

Direct advertising -- which would seem to produce fast results -- can build awareness and generate leads, but only rarely produces immediate results. (This is especially true for small and medium businesses.) The results it produces are cumulative and should be considered as such. Remember the '5 Exposures' rule I mentioned in my previous post? Keep it in mind.

And while digital/social media marketing does allow real-time communication, there's nothing instantaneous about attracting a large following on Facebook, or your blog, or Twitter. Like anything worth doing, it takes time and dedication. And without a following, you're basically talking to yourself.

These are just a few examples from which may help to explain why marketing does not, and often can not, produce instant results. Results worth pursuing only happen over time, never over-night.

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