Whoa, everybody.

There were no paper towels in the men’s room at one of my past employers, just one of those wall-mounted blowers for drying hands. One day a colleague said, “I hate this thing. I don’t have time to stand here and rub my hands dry. I’m too busy.” (There may have been a sprinkle of expletives in there, too.) I shared with him my philosophy that the unavoidable pause presented an opportunity to take a deep breath and reflect for a few seconds, but he was having none of it.

Expectation vs. reality

Fast forward to the present day at RDW, where a new high-tech electronic entry system takes about half a second to unlock the door. Yep, a mere half a second… which, I’m embarrassed to admit, I find unacceptably slow. In the years since my days of dispensing Zen philosophies in the men’s room, I’ve apparently fallen victim to the idea that everythingIwantshouldhappeninstantly.

After all, search engines guess what we’re looking for. The internet delivers answers with blinding speed. Retailers coddle us with ridiculously fast and easy shipping. Why shouldn’t we expect everything instantly?

Because we’re human. And it takes time to be human. Time to learn. To grow. To try, to fail, to start over, to develop relationships.

Here’s where this connects to marketing success.

Marketing success with humans also takes time. Time to research and understand an audience. To develop strategies and tactics. To conjure and produce creative executions. To analyze. To alter. To report. To woo, connect, engage, befriend, convert, and win.

That’s why the whole marketing experience is so often referred to as a “journey,” a word that describes a trip covering great time and distance. Sure, technology can trim some of the journey, but the relationship you’re trying to develop with your prospect simply can’t happen instantly. It requires effort, investment, and nurturing over time.

Of course, you should take full advantage of the speed, ease, organization, automation, and analysis you can apply to your marketing effort — but don’t lose sight of the fact that even when you’re facing a crushing deadline, time is actually on your side.