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Why Digital Marketing is a Marathon, Not a Sprint?

Just like the traditional story of the tortoise and the hare, when it comes to the Digital Marketing – Slow and steady wins the race.

Marathons are long, tough, taxing and exhilarating races that require extensive dedication and perseverance if you want to get the desired results.

Digital Marketing is no different than a regular marathon.

Just like before taking a marathon, a runner will look at many aspects of his health, endurance, and performance; the business owners need to do the same with their business aspects.

Marketing is very essential for any business to be successful.

You may have the most innovative product or service in your field but without marketing, none of your potential audience will get to know it.

‘Marketing’ is an umbrella term that signifies – advertising, promotions, sales and creating and improving public relations. It involves how your product or service is presented to your customers that will make their lives easier. Successful marketing requires sustained efforts, plans, and determination, just like in a marathon.

Running a marathon requires notable training over months, myriad hours of preparation and a tough mindset. It doesn’t happen overnight; it is not supposed to be, and neither does Digital Marketing.

So, what makes Digital Marketing so hard? Is Digital Marketing difficult to execute? Let’s break it down.

Getting off the Couch

The first step here is to just decide to get off the couch. A runner, before participating in a marathon analyzes himself if he is ready for it or not.

The runner decides the overall plan and execution map once he decides to participate in the marathon.

It begins with small steps such as deciding which running shoes to buy, t-shirt and shorts to choose, etc.

But, first of all, the runner must know why he wants to run a marathon? What is his motivation to do this?

Similarly, as a business owner or a marketer, you must be clear of your intended business goals, motivation and you should develop a digital marketing plan that works.

You need to get your tools in places like website, content assets, logos, email marketing, and cold emailing strategy before starting out.

Your business goals must be measurable, realistic and specific in the first place.

Start to Walk before You Run

A runner always starts with a warm-up walk before running.

It takes a few weeks for a runner to build endurance and stamina for long-running.

Before doing this practice, if the runner tries to get a quick pace, he is sure to fail and he won’t be able to last in the marathon.

It is tempting to fly away ahead of your pack when the marathon starts, but one should not do this until it is supported by a consistent long-lasting pace.

Now, as a business person, when you build your online assets and social media profiles, Google takes a considerable time (months) to notice your content.

You cannot expect lead generation instantly once you start within a week as its a steady process.

Instead, what you can do meanwhile is to keep creating engaging content and refine it as possible to make it more valuable in the long term.

Stick to your goals, know your motivation and you must decide the focus of your directions towards the marketing strategy & goals.

Have a Great Training Plan

A time tested training plan is essential for any marathon runner, for any levels of running. Similarly, in marketing, a well thought out plan is crucial when it comes to run marketing campaigns.

A great training plan can help you to get the most out of your efforts, whether in a marathon or a marketing campaign.

Its a matter of finding out what exactly works throughout the journey, whether its a marathon or a campaign, setting up the benchmarks and learning step by step from incoming hurdles.

A marathon runner can estimate how he is prepared when the marathon launches, based on the daily training received and tasks completed. Similarly, in marketing, how detailed and dedicated you are in planning out your campaigns will have a direct effect on the day of the campaign launch.

Most of the marketers/business owners try to run without training.

They follow their competitors and make new campaigns every day.

They don’t see training as a huge undertaking.

They are not sure about the practices and training they need to take in order to compete with others.

What kind of training do they need?

Some of the things business owners should consider here:

  1. How is their business health right now?
  2. What are their business goals? And by when they want to see the results pouring in?
  3. What are the tools at their disposal? Are they effective in the long run?
  4. Are they ready to make necessary commitments for the training?
"If the marathon is a part-time interest, you will only get part-time results" - Bill Rodgers

Develop Your Stride

A runner, while practicing the things he learned in the training, may have some days easy going but other days may come to him so hard that he starts questioning himself why he started.

Online marketing is an endurance sport.

Just like the runner, as a business owner, you may feel lost during the process but it is necessary to believe in the training and the plan you have created.

Once you develop the groove of your visitors to your websites and other assets, you will get to know how to handle all the twists and turns in the journey.

As a business owner, you can develop your stride by making most of every opportunity you’re given, putting your hours in writing insightful blogs, engaging with prospects on social media and attending social industry events to expand your reach.

Keep a Steady Pace

Marathon runners don’t want to run out of their stamina halfway through as they know there’s a long way to go before they cross the finish line.

In order to succeed, marathon runners set a steady pace they can maintain. The business owners, in a similar fashion, need to follow the realistic goals they’ve set and they should know how soon they want it to be accomplished.

So, as a business owner, you need to find a rhythm and voice in your approach and you must analyze what is working for you and what’s not.

Don’t blow all your marketing budget at a time on a PPC campaign, instead, you can keep improving your campaigns from previous track records and scale it steadily. 

Another example you cannot do is to blog or comment extensively on social platforms for a couple of weeks and then disappearing leaving an exhaustive silence.

Posting interesting and engaging content consistently will improve your brand awareness and trust among your followers.

So you must take the time to show up regularly and you should make real consistent human connections to grow your brand.

Going the Distance

A marathon runner, once he goes through all extensive plan, mindset, training, and tools, he is ready to drive himself towards the finish line.

As a business owner, this is the phase that tests all your training and the dedication to keep you moving. In this phase, you will have rankings, followers and brand awareness and you need to keep extending yourself bit by bit daily to elevate and scale. 

Remember, you can never be too good. There will always be someone who is bigger, stronger and faster than you.

This phase will take a lot of time, dedication and proper execution, however at the end, you will be running faster than anyone you’ve ever imagined.

Beyond the Finishing Line

In the final stretch of the marathon, it’s the willpower that keeps the runner getting to the finish point despite his burning muscles and tiredness.

This is the part of a run where the runner discovers how determined he was and realizes the strength that pushed him out of his preconceived limits.

As a business owner, this phase tested your endurance and this is the result of all the goals you set months ago and the training you’ve done which paid-off.

It takes time and energy to build a loyal customer base.

According to Fractl, a marketing strategies company – It takes at least 6 months to see results from on-site content marketing. Off-site content marketing takes even longer, about 6-12 months for visible results.
“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.” - Emil Zatopek

At first glance, at least 6 months may seem a long duration in the world of fast-moving data. But, it is not the case. Marketing is not about short but a long haul. It’s about the long term benefits, that last. 

Now, its the time for you to relish the moments and celebrate the weeks of hard training and planning, be it a marathon or a successful marketing campaign.


In Digital Marketing, it’s hard to keep the conversations going from one day to the next, especially when you observe your page views and shares aren’t going up as you expected. But that’s a part of the job, to keep showing up. Because you will never know when your dedication will pay off. And one day, it will.

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