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Breaking the Groundhog Day Cycle

Meme makers love to misattribute quotes to Albert Einstein. And on this Groundhog Day, I’m reminded of this trite and trendy gem: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Actually, this quote may have first appeared in a 1980 Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlet. It’s really kind of a poorly worded quote, as there are lots of things that can be done over and over with inconsistent results. Just ask Punxsutawney Phil. An Einstein worthy wording might have been, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, always getting the same unwanted result, yet doing it again and expecting a satisfactory result.” But that wouldn’t roll of the tongue or fit conveniently on a Facebook meme. Okay. What does this all have to do with Groundhog Day, or marketing and advertising?

In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray awoke to Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe each morning, trapped in a loop of experiencing the same events day after day. He finally caught on that he could try ways to affect those events, and perhaps close the loop and escape the nightmare. Marketing is the same.

In our business, we often see clients and their agencies repeating the same ineffective activities, and getting the same Groundhog Day results. But we also sometimes see someone come along, look into what’s not working, research what might, develop a new strategy, deploy new tactics that are on strategy, evaluate results, see what’s working and do more of that, and create a closed loop marketing turnaround. When that happens, it’s a whole new day.

The year is young, and I’m no Einstein, but I’ll postulate that, “Sanity is repeating the same proven formula and expecting the same positive results.” Happy Groundhog Day. May your successful marketing practices loop back again and again in 2016.

CLM | Feb 2, 2016