Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Once you're knee-deep into year two, you'll realize that not everything went the way you thought it would go.
Your web analytics expert quit, leaving you in a bind.
Your e-mail vendor was bought out by another company, causing a temporary reduction in service and a new account manager to be assigned to your team.
Paper and postage costs required you to reduce catalog circulation by thirty percent.
You over-invested in e-mail marketing frequency, actually causing a loss, not the profit increase you promised.
You listened to the pundits and started a blog, only to be told you are behind the times and that you should be on Facebook, only to be told you are behind the times and should be on Twitter, only to be told you are behind the times and must be on Plurk ... all in a six month period of time!
Keyword inflation caused you to have to increase your paid search budget, and that increase caused you to not invest in your customer information systems.
A sour economy caused you to have to downsize your team by fifteen percent.
By the end of year two, nothing looks the way you thought it would. The world changed. It is your responsibility to change with it.
This means you have to start the rebuilding process all over again.
Given what you and your team learned the first time around, you'll be much better at the process this time.
This time, delegate the majority of the process to the leaders who work for you. They'll be tired of your antics if they have to implement your ideas all over again, just two years after starting the process. Put them in charge of the process, and where possible, embrace their ideas.
Life has a way of repeating itself every two or three years in the direct marketing world. There are natural business cycles. People have unique career interests. Systems need to be refreshed. Technology causes us to re-work our processes. The rebuilding process begins anew.
Hopefully, this series provided you with a framework for thinking about how to navigate challenging times.
Lather, rinse, repeat!