Why Business Leaders Avoid Change—And What It Costs

Learn why avoiding digital marketing ultimately delays long-term business growth. 

Each year, we meet with executives from more than 200 businesses who are interested in learning more about how digital marketing could support their growth goals. Of that 200, typically less than half of those business’ actually end up taking action and invest in a digital marketing program. 

Why is this the case? Our own experience combined with research we commissioned indicates a few reasons: they’re turned off by the time & financial investment marketing will take; business executives think there’s another way to more efficiently generate business growth, they don’t understand it or most commonly, they don’t want to change.

We get it - change can feel risky. It often seems easier to keep doing what has always been done instead of veering away from the status quo. The truth is, however, that keeping the status quo hurts businesses. In today’s environment the status quo means ignoring trends, data, and consequences that impact business growth.

Technology has changed over the past several decades, and as a result, so has the way we purchase products and services. In 2008, ecommerce sales made up 3.6% of overall retail sales in the United States. In 2018, that percentage was 9.8%. This represents a 500% increase in ecommerce sales as a percentage of retail sales in just 10 years - and the number is only projected to grow.

The impact of technology is not exclusive to consumer goods & online sales. It’s affecting business products & services too, in different ways. Cold calling used to be the sales tactic to use when a business needed to fill its pipeline; today, thanks to caller ID and the ability to find information online at the click of a button, 90% of B2B decision makers won’t take a cold call. A prospect who may have responded positively to your cold call decades ago now has done 80% of the research process to support their business decision before ever getting in touch with you - all thanks to the internet. The onus is now on sales & marketing to provide critical information to a potential customer before they ever think to ask for it.

This is why, when it comes to marketing, doing nothing means that you are missing opportunities to reach more of your target customers and support their path to purchase.

What are these missed opportunities costing you exactly? To find out, answer these three questions:

  1. What are your business goals and revenue targets this year?
  2. How many new customers do you need to meet those goals?
  3. How many customers will you gain if you just keep doing what you did during the last fiscal year?

Subtract your answer to the third question from your answer to the second question—therein is the cost of keeping the status quo.

The constantly changing nature of technology and its impacts on consumer behavior necessitate taking actions that challenge us. Change is never easy or comfortable, but being able to adapt is a key ingredient to generating true business growth. We’ve seen digital marketing drive results for companies who were initially skeptical of the value digital can bring to their business; that’s why we’re so passionate about helping business leaders overcome the fear of change.