Marketing is tough.
Mountain Biking is tough.
Both are much more enjoyable when you have momentum.
Let’s start with Mountain Biking. As an avid mountain biker, I’ve learned one key lesson over the years that I apply every time I ride, no matter how challenging the trail.
Momentum is king.
For every hill or bump you go down, you typically get to go up another. The more speed you carry into the next hill, the easier it is to climb. The next hill will typically have rocks and roots and obstacles as well to get over. So, as you approach it, you have to gear down and prepare your body position to take on these new challenges. It’s a balance of speed and preparation. If you approach too fast, you go over the handle bars at the first bump, too slow and you’ll pop off the bike backwards. Experience determines what speed is best, and there is no speedometer or time to double-check how fast you’re going. Feel and instinct are key.
A proper balance of preparation, feel, and skill lead to a proper ascent.
Oh one last thing, your eyes need to be looking ahead. Through the the turn, up the hill, over the rock, whatever it is, you need to be looking ahead. As with driving, you naturally go where your eyes go.
Let’s talk about how this translates to the marketing and business world:
1. Speed is key to a good marketing team’s posture. No one knows what is truly going to succeed until it’s in the market, so get your work in the market and learn. This requires testing and learning, and sometimes failing. If the team is not comfortable with that, you won’t learn much together. At Clymb we use 30-day sprints with our customers during which we work as fast as possible to develop, launch, and measure a single set of deliverables meant to test and see if a product or service can gain traction in one channel. Practically, this looks like one week of development, two weeks of in-market testing, and one week to measure the test. Move too fast in this approach and typos make it to market, the wrong audience is targeted, and people’s feelings get hurt for not being included in the process. Move too slow and no one learns anything that month about their market, and revenue efforts aren’t supported by marketing. (Hint: a little bit of speed is the better alternative, similar to biking)
2. Skill, strategy, and a central vision are crucial components to an overall program. Everyone in the room would nod their head to that statement. Here’s the catch, this is easy to say and hard to practice. Try looking ahead while biking while subconsciously knowing that a pumpkin-sized rock is just two feet ahead of you on the trail. Focus on that rock, and you’ll hit it. Focus on the trail ahead and you’ll know about that rock way before it knows about you. Lay out your marketing goals in three “distances” if you will: short-, mid-, and long-term. Just by discussing them in this way, the short term goals will be alleviated and addressed. The mid-term goals will be identified and focused on throughout the initiative, and the long-term goals will keep the team centered on the right overall direction.
3. Feel, gut, and technique come with time and trump analysis paralysis. Ever seen a mountain biker hesitate and slow to a stop in the middle of a technical downhill section? They won’t be stopped for long; soon gravity takes over and sends them over the handle bars. When in doubt, keep moving, rely on what you know from past experiences, and don’t get paralyzed. When you don’t know the right line to take or approach to a campaign initiative, stop, ask someone with more grey hair than you, and then drop in.
When in doubt let momentum be king in your marketing initiatives, get moving, learn, make a few mistakes, and gain traction. You’ll need all the traction you can get to get in front of your customer and climb to your team’s sales goal.
If you’re concerned about your approach or just need some guidance on which line to take, don’t hesitate to give us a shout. There is a chance we’ve been down a similar trail before and can at least point you the right way, or let you know when to slow so you don’t break a bone, like I did last week.