“A river cuts through a rock not because of its power, but its persistence.” – Jim Watkins

Consider the Grand Canyon.

Without the help of Doc Brown, his trusty flux capacitor and a spare DeLorean to do some major time traveling over the course of 70 million years we can’t be exactly certain how one of the Earth’s most astounding natural features came to be. But we have some ideas, and the main culprits are water, wind, ice and more than a little bit of continental drift.

Really think about that: a hole in the Earth that’s 277 miles long, 76 feet wide and 85 feet deep in some spots got there because of what became the Colorado River… plus a whole lot of time.

Standing back and taking in the scale and scope of the Grand Canyon reminds us that consistency of effort over time can accomplish anything, whether you’re talking about a raging river or a calm creek.

Since none of us are here for a crash course in geology, let’s port that example over to the world of business marketing and how the hands of time are the best judge of where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

When it comes to building business and finding customers, there has to be some reliance on return on investment, analytics, and measuring results to ensure you’re not throwing hard-earned revenue down the drain. But a “measure everything!” mentality gradually turns every marketing message into a Pavlov’s dog scenario where nothing matters beyond making the phone and cash register ring within 30 seconds of transmission.

It’s transactional instead of relational.

Messages that are nothing more than calls to action dressed up with bells and whistles act to push customers your way, rather than helping them to choose your business by seeing you as the clear choice when their need arises for what you have to offer. Take away the treat, and Pavlov’s dog stops salivating pretty quickly.

For the foundational basics of building a brand, there is still nothing better than the use of consistent echo-and-intrusion advertising through broadcast to get your message on the minds of potential customers. Those messages keep your business at the forefront (or at least in the mix) of those who are bound to need what you’re selling at some point in their lives. And when they do, it won’t matter if you’ve got a sale or a new grand opening happening because they’ll simply know without thinking twice that you’re the place they can turn to.

That kind of marketing works because of consistency and repetition over time, but is easy to take for granted in favor of something flashy that gives you fast results you can point to. But to trust in the long-term results is to build a customer base that will be with you through just about anything.

When mankind was a long way off from walking the planet there was no one to realize that a gigantic canyon was forming in what would become Arizona merely as the result of a river doing its work. But with the benefit of time we can see how much is possible.

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