Companies and organizations face new problems or challenges every day. It’s one of the many things that come with the job, right? Sometimes it’s simple stuff that’s easily fixed. Other times, the problems are much more complex and stem from a root cause.
As Dan Heath talks about in his book, Upstream, you can work tirelessly every day and continue to deal with the same problem on a surface level, or you can work to identify the source of the issue and fix that instead. If you can get to the root of the problem and fix that, you’ll save yourself time and gain some peace of mind.
In the book, this is defined as upstream thinking because of a short story he shares of two people who are rescuing children in distress in a river. One of them finally gives up on pulling kids out of the river and heads upstream to figure out why they’re in the river and stop it at the source.
In his book, Heath talks about several different scenarios where upstream thinking had an impact. He demonstrates how it’s been applied to save time for customer service teams, eliminate homelessness in one area, and improve patient outcomes in healthcare.
How does it apply to marketing for small business or nonprofits?
As with any of these applications, it’s about identifying what’s causing a particular issue and solving the core of the problem. Organizations of all sizes can spend a lot of time and energy trying to address issues, but often it’s just a temporary fix instead of a true solution. It’s time to really look at where you’re losing time or money in your marketing efforts and identify the root cause.
For retail businesses, one issue could be lots of phone calls asking for your business hours. If you’re fielding multiple calls per day with that question, it adds up over time. Are your hours easy to find on your website? Is your Google listing updated with current hours? Have you considered an automated answering service that gives people the option to press one for store hours? These are all possible solutions to the root cause of your customers not knowing your hours.
Another example could be lack of results in your digital marketing or a recurring issue with people not understanding what your business does. If that’s a problem for you, it’s time to dig into the root cause of the confusion. Have you clearly defined who you are as a business? Are your messages across different marketing channels consistent? Have you trained all members of your team so they’re telling the same story about your business? Lack of clarity for you as a business owner and for your team is certainly a root cause for lack of clarity among your clients and prospects.
We know that small businesses and small nonprofits are juggling lots of things and simply trying to keep all those balls in the air at the same time. It’s challenging to make the time to really dive into the issues and identify the root cause to solve them, but it’s worth the investment of your time now to save you a lot of time in the future.
If you need help evaluating your current marketing efforts and identifying the root cause of some challenges you’re facing, let’s chat about how StoryPath Communications may be able to help.