Moving and marketing: 6 things I was reminded of during a cross country trip
A couple of weeks ago, I moved from Indianapolis to Washington state with my husband and our two terrified cats. Though the move was a welcome change (and inevitable, my spouse is in the Navy), each time we pack up and ship out, the journey feels brand new. No matter if you move across town or across the country, I’ve learned that moving is full of uncertainty about what lies ahead, hope for a better future, and determination to make it work.
As we settled into our new location, I found myself reflecting on the journey and the lessons I learned. Oddly enough, I realized that those same lessons can be used as reminders to marketing practitioners, no matter if you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out. Here are the six things I was reminded of while moving across country:
1. Planning and research is essential.
Moving anywhere – especially across country – requires hours of planning and research: What route do we take to get there? How long should we drive each day? How much will we spend on gas? The same is true for marketing. Before you begin any campaign or new endeavor, you must do your market research and answer some questions: Who is my target audience? What have my competitors done? What is my budget? And so on and so forth. In marketing, planning for where you want to go is essential to helping you map your route to get there.
2. Assess as you go – no strategy is perfect.
The trip from Indy to Washington was supposed to be a smooth, uneventful four-day trip. The beautiful state of Montana caused us to reassess that plan. After a rough day of driving up and down mountains through winding roads, it was time to rest for the day – even though we were still two hours from our “official” stop. Though we had a hotel reserved in the next town over, my husband and I agreed that the right decision was to add an extra day to the trip.
Likewise, there will be times during your marketing campaign when something feels like it isn’t working, or you’re not getting the results you anticipated during a certain phase. Like a road trip, no strategy is perfect, and if something seems off, take the time to find out why. Although you may already have resources poured into a “set” plan, sometimes it’s better to re-allocate said resources into a plan that works versus continuing to follow a dead-end.
3. Take time to enjoy the scenery, and appreciate where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going.
Though the drive from Montana to Washington was absolutely gorgeous, it was scary at times. Once we finally crossed state lines, and I let myself relax a little, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the drive and the unlikeliness that I would have the opportunity to travel this path again. As we started on the last day of our journey, I found myself stealing glances at the vast national forests around me and being thankful for the journey. I was able to recognize that traveling these roads got us to this point, and they would get us to our new home.
The same is true in marketing as each new campaign builds on the one before it and brings you one step closer to your goals. Enjoy the journey. Look back and reflect on the lessons learned from each campaign and appreciate how those lessons – good or bad – are helping you to get the results you want. Keep the end in mind, but never forget where you started and how you got to where you are.
4. Celebrate milestones.
There’s a common theme in this blog, and that’s that Montana was a hard state to get through. On the first day we drove through the Treasure State (this is the day we stopped early), I celebrated that we had driven seven hours and only had five hours to go until we arrived in Washington. When we finally entered the Evergreen state, I celebrated that we were only one day from reaching our destination. On the way to Seattle, I celebrated that we were just hours away from our new home. I acknowledged each step along the way, because even though we weren’t done yet, we had made it one mile closer – and that was worth being happy about.
A good marketing plan will have several milestones along the way – acknowledge when each one is achieved because each success, even if part of a larger strategy, is still a success. You set up your Facebook account? Celebrate! You’re using your blog to get meaningful engagement on said Facebook page? Celebrate! Your content marketing strategy is creating lead growth? Celebrate! There’s no milestone too small that you can’t celebrate it.
5. Even when you’ve reached your goal, never stop looking towards the next one.
It was certainly cause for celebration when my husband and I arrived at our destination. We even opened a special bottle of wine that we had brought with us. However, the next day, we were busy mapping out what our next goals were. In our case, this was getting back to a healthier lifestyle free of road food, finding the gym, and buying a house. Though there was an urge to just chill out for a few days, we knew that we needed to keep the momentum going or risk getting complacent.
I am by no means suggesting that you should be setting up your next campaign immediately after completing a successful one. But, you should always be looking towards that next step. For example, if your last campaign resulted in more customers and sales, maybe you should start brainstorming customer retention or ways to keep people engaged with your brand. In today’s fast-paced environment, it’s important to continue to build upon your strategy and keep the pendulum swinging in your direction.
6. The journey is more fun with a team.
Though my husband and I traveled separately across the country, we bought small walkie-talkies to communicate with each other. Communication varied from relaying an upcoming traffic problem to telling jokes. Settling into the hotel each night and discussing the next day’s drive was less daunting knowing that we were in it together.
At the beginning of my career, I worked alone to rebuild marketing departments. I was often left to my own devices and only reported to my boss when work was completed. When campaigns went really well, I was the only person who could acknowledge the hard work and time spent to achieve results – and that was sometimes really sad. Now, even as a freelancer, I work with others to achieve their marketing goals and it makes my job so much more meaningful. As a team, we’re able to brainstorm new ideas, discuss strategy, and, yes, celebrate milestones. Even if it’s just you and one other person, it sure makes the achievements – and the roadblocks – much easier to bear when you know you’ve got the support from others.
Amidst a military move, I found inspiration to remind me that life lessons can be applied to marketing in unlikely ways. What life lessons have you learned that can be applied to business? Share them in the comment section – I’d love to hear from you!
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