Every morning I wake up with my little girl, we head out to the living room
and sometimes we play together, sometimes she plays with her toys while Daddy works, and sometimes I play a little music for her on the ukulele or mandolin…many times it’s a combination of all three. It is by far the most enjoyable part of my day, and I’m amazed by how much she has grown, she’s doing new things all the time and her personality is developing right in front of my eyes. The other day I was working on another marketing project while she was banging around the living room floor, my mind started to wander and I started to think about the lessons she could teach me about being better at marketing.
“Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” ~ Robert Hunter
Every day she is trying new things and so should we. Part of successful strategic marketing is a willingness to take risks, and I’ve noticed the most successful people in our field take risks every day, whether that be starting a new blog, writing a book, conceptualizing a new campaign, finding a new strategic focus, or just challenging conventional wisdom (of which there is plenty). In marketing, as in life there is a lot of value in thinking outside the box and putting yourself out on a limb, it takes courage and you might fail, but you’ll never know until you try it!
My daughter is relentlessly curious, she loves ceiling fans, gadgets, electrical sockets, coffee mugs, our dog’s tail, books, paper, etc. She is constantly learning about the environment surrounding her. Marketers need to take the same approach. It’s not enough to be well versed in the latest tactics. To truly be successful we need to read about all kinds of topics, not just marketing. Subjects like psychology, management, general business, philosophy, personal development, art, and science can really round us out and make us more complete professionals. Of course it’s not just reading, attending webinars, listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and writing are all good ways to “sharpen the saw”.
Somehow she seems to be aware of everything going on around her, nothing gets by. Like it or not, marketing is hard work. There is a lot to do and only so many hours in which to do it, we have big projects, key strategic initiatives, and ongoing tactical activities, all while having to manage the small stuff that comes up every day. Being conscious and in the moment can help us focus on getting done with our most important tasks while putting us in a position to handle other inputs and prioritize. When things get out of hand, slow down, take a deep breath, and prioritize your tasks.
Falling Down…and Getting Back Up:
My daughter is constantly standing up, only to fall down again and again. In marketing or any other endeavor we inevitably fall down, the campaign didn’t get the results you had hoped for, the event you worked so hard to plan hit some unexpected snags, there were technical difficulties in the webinar…whatever. The important thing is to get back in the saddle and ride, knowing that you did the best you could and persevering through the challenges is a major key to success in marketing…or just about anything else. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably not making anything.
Lastly, my daughter is incredibly sweet (for now), and her smile can light up even the darkest heart. Try to be kind. This might sound a bit trite, but in order for marketers to be successful we need a lot of help from other people, whether that is the sales team, financial, legal, Sr. Management, product development, vendors, etc. Things can become overwhelming at times and we all need help at some point in order to move the ball across the goal line. But, it’s not just a matter of being kind, we have to be genuine in our kindness, by sincerely caring about the problems of others and always looking to help when possible, we put ourselves in position to succeed.
Have you learned marketing lessons in strange places?