The importance of grinding

In today’s hyper growth-driven world, we’re all too often tempted to seek an easy solution to our business problems. Something that can magically fix everything, like hiring a new business development leader or bringing in more financing (such as venture capital).

In marketing, there are many identifiable scenarios of trying to fix things quickly, such as blindly adopting a piece of technology to somehow attract more conversions, or outsourcing projects in the hopes of accelerating productivity.

Or, bringing in a digital marketing leader who, despite no relevant industry knowledge, promises results through generic social media and SEO hacking.

Or siphoning off the marketing budget in favor of bringing in more salespeople to try and increase revenue.

The truth of the matter is that getting the results you truly need requires the willingness to grind it out.

The willingness to be patient, and to be persistent when immediate results aren’t yet satisfactory. The willingness to iterate and refine as necessary. And the willingness to employ everything necessary to make it all work in the end.

The simple fact is many product launch campaigns require time and continuous effort to generate awareness and make the messaging “stick” with prospective customers.

Another simple reality is that successful marketing campaigns require an abundance of effective content. Videos? Brochures? Dedicated landing page? Sales training decks? Battle cards? Yep, they all matter. And creating content takes time and patience. There is no way around it.

Fred Wilson, a noted venture capitalist, wrote about grinding in his blog (there’s also great follow-up commentary). He recounts the story about how Twitter, back in its earlier growth days, badly needed a fix to its infrastructural challenges (and save its future). Short-term measures were attempted but none worked. The ultimate fix took six months to a year of grinding out engineering solutions to work itself out.

As Wilson writes:

It is tempting to search for the one magic move that will make everything better. … But it is rarely one thing that a business needs to succeed. It is often a little bit of everything.

This basically says it all.

Grinding isn’t very satisfying. It is hard to stand up in front of everyone and say “we are going to fix things around here bit by bit with a lot of hard work.” Big flashy moves are an easier sell most of the time. But they don’t work nearly as well and are prone to complete and abject failure.