What is the difference between a successful marketing campaign and an unsuccessful one? ROI is certainly the standard answer, but it is also completely insufficient.

A single marketing campaign is not much different than a car going uphill, battling gravity with a driver giving a single pump of the gas pedal. The largest SUV or the speediest sports car fight the same battle: Let off the gas, and they will both eventually slow down, stop and then start rolling downhill.

Likewise, the inertia of the market — competitive noise, client disinterest and short-term memories can only be overcome with more than a single pump of marketing energy.

What does this look like? Consider:

  • Social media: Scheduled posts, interactions and connections. Evidence that the community is alive not a ghost town or a repository of narcissistic postings.
  • Content marketing: Continuous creation of target-audience-relevant content, across a number of target-relevant channels. Stopping content development means that you were more relevant in the past. Today, you are yesterday's news.
  • Advertising: This can provide exposure to audiences that earned media cannot. Stop advertising, and that exposure goes away.
  • PR and media relations: Being asked for your perspective by the media is key evidence of your thought leadership, and is a powerful positioning and awareness tool. Stop your efforts in this area, and you quickly become invisible.

If "brand" can be defined as what you represent, then the momentum from these activities creates a seamless gap between what you promise and what you deliver. While the mix of these four strategies will be different for every organization, momentum builds brand.

This week's action plan: Look back at your last year's marketing activities. Which ones did you stop merely because the campaign was "over"? While you can't go back in time, you can start tomorrow's momentum today.

Restart the ones that build cumulative value, and you will find that elusive ROI and a competitive advantage. Success in marketing requires momentum.

Marketing insight: Traditional marketing teaches about the four P's: price, product, place and promotion. Momentum might not start with a "P," but it has a more powerful and enduring impact on your marketing success.