You may recall back in April, we posted our first in this series on the 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing as we discussed Pride. Now, we’re moving on to another deadly sin – sloth.

The term “sloth” is a translation of a Latin word “acedia” which means “without care.” Of the 7 deadly sins, sloth has traditionally been the most difficult to define as it includes a lot of different types of sin. However, whether mental, spiritual, physical, etc. – it all comes down to laziness.

Originally, the term was considered an affliction and often referred to when discussing monks who had become indifferent to their obligations. The term has a lot of different components where it can be a lack of any feeling about yourself or others (remembering that you matter), constant boredom, apathy, or just an indifference to get things done. For me – I always think of my children when they’re hung up in YouTube watching slime videos or some of their favorite content producers – and become completely dysfunctional due to their apathy for the world.

Oh, there are SO MANY things that marketers do in this space that create massive failures in a business. Out of all of the 7 deadly sins and their relation to marketing, this is the one that we see most frequently. Many times in marketing sloth can be related to fear. Some companies choose to do nothing because they’re fearful of what could or will happen. So, that fear leads to a paralyzed marketing effort. I remember one time in my career where a client wanted to rebuild their website, but when we started discussing business goals and conversions, they said something to the affect of “oh – no we don’t want any more business. Can you build the website so we don’t get any new customers?” The organization’s plan wasn’t for growth, but for stagnation. Personally, I understand the thought process as life / work / everything can be incredibly busy at times. However, even if you’re not taking new customers or patients or clients – having a plan for a waiting list seems meaningful. So – always make sure that your marketing efforts match your goals.

Sometimes, it’s related to rhythm. Companies get into a standardization of expectations and just never change their strategies. It’s a mentality of “it’s always worked, so why change” which leads to real marketing apathy. For instance, every month we send an email. Every quarter we update our billboard creative. Every year we do an annual review. Etc. Etc. However, we all know that the economy, business, life doesn’t always allow for those rhythms to be maintained. There’s an apathy that can occur due to the rhythm of things and sometimes that can be detrimental to a business.

There are a few ways to prevent these sort of “slothful” or apathetic activities to occur.

Don’t challenge to challenge but challenge for change

I’ve worked with clients before who like to play “devil’s advocate,” always questioning responses just to see if there is a better alternative. This can be an effective way to ensure everyone is on the same page, and there aren’t better idea alternatives. However, I’ve also worked with marketers and corporate leaders who challenge simply to challenge. There may be no goal in mind, but they just want to see what the response might be.

Today’s marketplace is odd – everyone is busy and many companies are looking for help in their organizations. Being the latter in this example can lead to poor outcomes, frustrated staff members, and generally poor morale. Certainly don’t be slothful, but pay attention to the areas that truly need improvement. Don’t always challenge the great for the perfect, but always challenge the good for the great.

Plan and assess

We at Forum believe planning is critical to success. Whether it’s for three months or a year, having a project management plan is important and ensures that everyone is moving in the same direction. Focus on building a functional plan but always be willing to adjust to drive better results.

Pay attention

One of the ways that businesses and organizations fall into apathy is to become stagnant internally. Make sure you’re paying attention to the marketplace and upcoming changes. Our recent post regarding GA4 is a great example. We always have to pay attention to new opportunities, new threats, new competition, and even what our existing competition is doing so we can ensure we’re meeting the needs of today’s consumers. For instance, if a university today decided they solely wanted to focus their marketing efforts on Facebook, that’s probably a bad move. You may reach a few students’ parents, but all of the students are likely on TikTok or Instagram.

If you’re afraid your marketing efforts have become apathetic, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Forum. We’re more than happy to assess where you are and develop a plan to help your business grow in today’s crowded marketplace.