Winter’s end is only the beginning for marketers implementing change

April 1, 2014 By and    

William Shakespeare once wrote, “Now is the winter of our discontent.” I for one couldn’t blame you should you feel similarly about this particular season.

We’ve had our challenges as an industry, and most likely those challenges have extended to your operation directly over the past five months. The big question is: What now? Not necessarily as an industry (although that’s very relevant), but in your universe.

Fleets often gather annually in the second half of March, regardless of the weather, to discuss and review the past five months. This review is a brutal self-assessment of what went right, what went wrong and everything in between. It would be naïve to think in operations such as these that the hot topics haven’t already been discussed so there are very few, if any, surprises. That’s good because identifying the problem(s) is only part of the answer.

Why do fleets do this? Because they realize in this marketplace there really is no “offseason,” and in order to implement change a running start is much better than none at all. Sir Isaac Newton’s first of three laws of motion definitely applies here: Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

Another cogent reason is that the frustrations of the season are fresh in people’s mind. Given enough time, we’ve all fallen victim to the perception that something wasn’t as bad as it was “in the moment.” It’s easy to dismiss the status quo as not so bad when the alternative is change. Unfortunately, like so many other things in life, if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. Especially in this marketplace where your competitors are very likely looking for every advantage they can get.

Having been in this industry for 13 years, it’s hard not to notice a few patterns develop. Trust me, I get it. For many of you who’ve just fought the “Urgency vs. Geography” battle at ground level for the past six months, the idea of reviewing and perhaps taking action is not something you look forward to. However, I can assure you from my time in this industry that the most successful deployments are the ones that have plenty of time to breathe. By that I mean the ability to implement change without the additional stress of “next season” looming large. It allows for your employees and your vendor to do their best work.

We all know change can be stressful. But the traditional timeline of waiting to come up for air in mid to late April, go to a few trade shows and ultimately decide a path in June doesn’t leave much room for error. The notion of continuing strategic conversations year-round with vendors is real, and progressive fleets aren’t cloistering themselves from November to April anymore.

The other very real consideration is that the vendors you select need to allocate the proper resources to their new deployments. Every year one of our biggest challenges is working with our sales team in forecasting when prospects are likely to partner with us. Every vendor’s goal is to make every deployment as smooth as possible. Decisions made in March, April and May make life easier on all parties. This in turn not only greatly increases the chances of your project’s success but also greatly diminishes the stress of everyone involved.

I will quote Shakespeare once more when he wrote, “I wasted time, and now doth time wasted me.” I believe I speak for all of the quality vendors who support our terrific industry in encouraging you to head into this “offseason” with a plan and hit the ground running to implement that plan. It may take a tad more effort on the front end, but it will reap enormous rewards down the road.

Wishing you all a safe exit from this quite extraordinary winter.

Vinny Mullineaux is the CEO of Vertrax, a provider of back office and mobile technology. He can be reached at or 203-952-7666.

Comments are currently closed.