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  • Writer's pictureNancy Olaoye

Patience: A Necessity in Digital Marketing

As a marketer in these "unprecedented times" (had to throw it in there lol), I’m often faced with situations where it seems a new campaign isn't instantly impacting a client's business, or more specifically their bottom line. The first thing that comes to mind when that occurs is to change the whole strategy, or perhaps scour LinkedIn for a digital marketing wizard capable of overnight successes one can only fantasise about. The third thing I think about is patience – this often forgotten virtue that relates so much to my work as a business and marketing consultant. While my team and I may be confident with a strategy, but the client isn’t seeing it work overnight, sometimes as the lead, I need to have the dreaded (and sometimes uncomfortable) patience-related conversation with them.

Fact is, the more fast-paced and more intelligent marketing gets, the more patience is needed in order to be successful. Having the patience to reach long-term goals in marketing is not an easy feat, most of us on the client facing side know that patience is in short supply.

The Journey

Focusing on our clients’ end goals does not mean forgetting to mind the objectives. The journey we embark on to achieve a big win for a client means taking the time to measure all small feats and milestones. Setting objectives for both short and long term desired results is a good way to measure what’s working and what isn’t within a strategy – allowing us to tweak as needed while helping the client maintain the eye on the prize. The process of being a leader in today’s digital marketing space is like surfing a wave. Part of our duty at a marketing agency is to help our clients catch that wave and enjoy the ride to success. Wipe outs and rip tides are bound to happen, but it’s worth it being patient because nothing feels better than riding that wave.

Building Relationships

Each digital marketing platform comes with new learning curves every step of the road that we cannot skip through. In each platform, we are trying to build personal relationships with members of that community. What we already know as humans is that in every relationship, we come across things that contribute to the future of said relationships. The same thing applies to the relationships we as digital marketers build with social communities on behalf of our clients. As their brands grow digitally, there will be bumps that could impede our efforts. What drives success is not the decisions that lead us to those stumbles, but our attitudes in response to them. Bad comments, bad reviews, etc. are nothing new, we need to respond. Instead of just blocking and deleting, just like in our personal relationships, those things should be addressed properly. Bridging those challenges will show more of the brand’s integrity to its communities.

Patience Equals Consistency

Patience doesn’t mean that we leave it up to the powers of the universe to achieve growth on our chosen digital platforms. Patience means we strive to achieve day in-day out with the planned strategy, and not letting set backs get in the way of creating and sharing valuable content through our client’s brands. Consistency is key, we need to maintain the quality and quantity of our content so our client’s communities can always count on them to be a resource.

It Simply Takes Time

As a marketer, I know it takes time for a brand to grow a community, and even more time for the community to connect with it. It’s a concept that is often difficult to explain to clients as they like to see “immediate” results, they want to become instant hits and go viral in a matter of weeks (sometimes days). Such high client expectations sometimes make us doubt our strategies and go back to the drawing board much too soon. It’s important for me to manage the client’s expectations from the beginning and help them understand that when we commit to a strategy, we must realise its potential success (and sometimes failure). That way when things don’t seem to be working, we can always measure and adjust instead of redeveloping the whole strategy – which often leads to a waste of time and resources.

Prior to implementing a strategy, it’s important to cover all the basics such as a client’s business goals, community, plans for each digital platform, and the value we’re planning on adding to the communities formed in said platforms. Once all the basics are covered and carried out in the implementation phase, patience can help both you as a marketer and your client enjoy the journey as the brand flourishes.

We may live in an age of instant messaging and instant gratification, and there are many things that can be achieved overnight. But true lasting success isn’t one of them. It’s an achievement that takes time, and as my work in marketing continues to teach me, it also requires a lot of patience.

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