One of the burners on our stove doesn’t always light when you turn the knob.  It clicks and clicks but the little sparker doesn’t spark.  It’s not that big of a deal –  the Aim ‘n Flame does the trick – but it’s probably not the best solution to wave an open flame in an area rapidly filling with an explosive gas.

The workaround for our broken burner is emblematic of a situation I see quite often in the customer engagement world.  If your data collection strategy isn’t working as you had hoped, do you have a (potentially dangerous) workaround holding things together?  If so, you are likely doing more harm than good and it’s time to put the flamethrower down for something more productive.

The marketing landscape is constantly evolving, so the plan you developed two or three years ago is very likely not generating the returns you had initially expected.  It’s possible a strategy two or three months old won’t perform well without some sort of recalibration.  The best strategy is one that is constantly being adjusted, ever so slightly, to squeeze out the best returns.  Nothing lasts forever, as even the most productive engagement technique will lose its luster over time.

Take a look at your strategy for getting smarter about your prospective customers/donors.  Is it working?  Are you still gathering the type of intelligence that helps you shape future outreach?  And most importantly, are you converting prospects into customers and first-time customers into repeat customers?  This type of self-reflection can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to debilitating.  As you are examining your engagement plan, keep your end goals squarely in sight.  Your strategy is either helping you achieve your goals or it isn’t – there is no grey area.

Being honest with yourself about the state of your current outreach will allow you quickly move away from a dangerous (unproductive) strategy.  And just as I will readily admit that I am not well enough equipped to repair a broken lighting mechanism on our stove, it is alright to admit you may need some outside support to reinvigorate your customer engagement plan.