Being a Marketing Tortoise in a “Hare-y” World

by: Stratford Managers

As you compete in the marketing race, are you embracing your inner tortoise or hare?

Tortoises keep a thoughtful, steady pace and build on the successful things they’ve done to achieve new results. They think analytically, act strategically and know how to pace themselves. They may carefully add a few new marketing tactics now and then but generally stick to their tried and true marketing repertoire, which is often a variant of the status quo.

Then there are the hares running as fast as they can to deliver success, even if it isn’t that well defined. In fact, sometimes “success” seems to have more to do with activity than results. Hares love to use all the latest marketing techniques, especially social media, to the point that it can be hard to separate the marketing message from the marketing noise. For hares, it’s a “hurry up and get the marketing out the door so we don’t stop engaging our audiences” sort of race. It may get attention but whether all this haste leads to true results is another question.

In the marketing race, sometimes it’s the hare that wins.  But sometimes, confident of winning and smart enough not to be caught napping, the hare races blindly ahead failing to notice that it’s taken a wrong turn (or that a clever tortoise has found a short cut to the market). The hare is so caught up in the activity of doing marketing that it may be shocked to find that the tortoise has somehow captured the market share lead.

If you’re a marketing hare in a hurry to take action, try being a ‘tort-hare’ for a moment. Hold your bias towards action in check long enough to learn from past results so you can create finely tuned programs that really deliver the right messages and captivate your audiences. If you’re building a team, consciously hire a combination of tortoises and hares to create the right balance. Some team members will keep a thoughtful steady pace to build demand while others race ahead to create buzz and awareness.

The moral of the story is that to win the marketing race, you may need to combine the best of the tortoise and the hare’s abilities. It’s a wonderful marketing fable. Now all we need is some clever branding person to come up with a better name than “tort-hare”!


  • Categories