Marketing lesson from clashing clocks

I’m a regular at my gym. I go there to use the elliptical machine, work out with free weights, and take spinning classes. But sometimes I learn lessons that have nothing to do with exercise—like the lesson of the clashing clocks.

For years, my gym has had two wall clocks facing each other. One was above the mirrors next to the exercise mat. The other was on the opposite wall.

For years, it has driven me crazy that the two clocks disagreed about the time. Sometimes they differed by only a minute. Other times, the gap was as much as five minutes. That made a big difference when I was watching the clock to figure out if I needed to go clip into my spin bike for the start of class.

I complained occasionally to management, but the clocks never stayed aligned for long.

One day, things changed for the better. But that didn’t happen in the way that I expected. The gym didn’t buy two perfectly aligned clocks. Instead, they permanently removed one clock.

This is a clever solution because it forever removes the potential for members to complain about a mismatch between two clocks that they can see by simply swiveling their heads. This solution saves time for management and costs them nothing.

What clashing clock can YOU remove?

Your business may have the metaphorical equivalent of clashing clocks.

For example, I imagine that you may have marketing messages for different products that conflict. You could spend time rewriting your marketing collateral. Or, you could simply stop marketing one of the products, assuming that it isn’t core to your business.

Or, you may be active in six social media channels. If your marketing isn’t consistent across those channels, you can drop one or more of them. Sometimes less marketing is better marketing because you spend the time to do a better job on your remaining tasks.

You needn’t limit your clashing-clock analysis to marketing. Perhaps there are components of other parts of your business that you can eliminate.

What clashing clock can you remove?


If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy “Financial blogging lessons from my spinning class” or “Learn what works in winning clients.”


Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius at

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