Marketing doesn’t a vacation, but during the summer it’s definitely OK to let your hair down and inject a little extra fun into your online presence.
After all, everyone is on summer schedules, there are few big sales days, and when you have to be in the office when you’d rather be at the beach, keeping things light can be a good way to stay engaged and upbeat.
Much like the magic of the holiday season, summer demands a brand of good cheer not always associated with the business world.
One way to transform your existing marketing strategy is to enter an arena filled with excitement and competition, and what better choice for summer than the world of watersports?
From surfing to marathon swimming, the top athletes in these sports are smart, strategic, and daring all characteristics that can benefit those of us in the business world. Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet and try some new things this summer these athletes will lead the way.
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You Can’t Learn From Your Desk
One of the most common mistakes we make, both as modern professionals and in our private lives, is thinking we can learn everything we need to know about a subject from our computers or if we’re feeling old school, a book. What adventure sports like surfing or wakeboarding demonstrate, however, is that there are some things that demand a hands-on approach.
Of course, you should do some research or talk to those with experience before you hit the waves or try that new social strategy, but you aren’t going to learn much until you start experimenting yourself. When an experienced surfer describes the pull of the tides, you may think you understand what they’re saying, just like you might think you understand how to launch a Twitter campaign from reading a few blogs. Actually taking on the new task, however, often proves just how little we know without having direct experience.
You Can Go Fast…
For many athletes, the most thrilling thing about watersports is that they’re fast paced. Imagine being pulled along by a boat on a surface about the size of a snowboard. This is essentially what wakeboarding is, a blend of waterskiing, snowboarding, and surfing, all sped along by a motorboat. It’s fast and fun and maybe even a little scary, but that’s what many involved in the sport love about it.
What does this have to do with your marketing strategy? Well, one approach to marketing is to develop a campaign that will help you to reach a goal quickly. Maybe you’ve got a product you want to fund or a webinar to fill. Since summer can be unusually slow when it comes to sales, offering a short-term incentive that will push you through a campaign quickly and effectively can be a great way to get over the summer slump.
Or You Can Go Far
One of the things about most watersports is that they either take you across a short distance quickly wakeboarding, surfing, waterskiing or you can cover more ground slowly but steadily. Marathon swimmers like Paige Christie, who recently completed the 120-mile long 8 Bridges swim, the longest marathon swim in the world, is of the slow and steady mode. To swim 120 miles, even over a seven-day span, took nearly 40 hours over the course of the event and months of training before. Clearly, this is a woman who knows a few things about achieving your goals.
The marathon swimming approach to marketing, then, involves spending your summer in training. This lull before the holiday season hits, which seems to be earlier each year is the perfect time to start planning the kind of campaign that you’ll run for months or even years.
Maybe you want to develop a new slogan or undertake a rebranding project. These are serious undertakings and require a lot of trial and error, and a lot of time spent finding the perfect angle. Done right, however, it’s also a way of going far. Speed isn’t the only approach, even among the fiercest competitors.
Setbacks Are Part of the Process
Knowing how to handle a setback with grace is the sign of a true athlete, and those in the world of watersports know this better than anyone setbacks are just another version of the tides that make their sports so challenging and exciting. Each setback is temporary and creates room for the next great achievement. The tide comes in and the tide goes out.
Handling setbacks is also a vital skill for professionals. Sometimes we have brilliant ideas that feel like they could be the next big thing. We launch those ideas and sometimes we’re right, but sometimes we’re wrong and we fail. Or, our new strategy works, but not nearly as well as we had hoped. It can feel like everything just went down the drain.
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Instead of giving up, your professional obligation is to assess what went wrong. Measure what you expected against what really happened. Did the campaign produce too few conversions or click-through rates? How can you adjust your next concept so that doesn’t happen? Don’t dwell upon setbacks, but don’t ignore them either. Just be observant and take the time to learn from them before you scramble to come up with a new idea.
Marketing metrics, like race times, are what allow us to improve.