Colleen Coyne, in her HubSpot Inbound Internet Marketing blog post “8 Marketing Tips From An Olympic Gold Medalist” has some great tips on how to be a more successful inbound marketer. Coyne earned a gold medal at the 1998 Olympics with the women’s ice hockey team and uses some of the strategies she learned while training for the Olympics in marketing.
I’d like to expand a little on a few of her ideas and add a few of my own, which I think don’t work only for inbound marketing, but for any marketing campaign.
1. Her first tip is to train smarter instead of harder. Training smarter can save you a lot of work and headache down the road. If you’re a business owner, take the advice of a marketing agency. Agencies are full of marketing and advertising experts paid to keep up on trends and to even make some marketing efforts trendy. If you are a marketer, take the advice of veteran marketers and/or do your own research so you don’t implement something that is bound to fail. Observe the pros and try to get a dialogue going with them. Pick their brains if you can. Read marketing blogs, books and Web sites written by the pros.
2. Another tip on Coyne’s list is to plan the work. Basically, you should have a marketing plan to follow along with smaller goals to help keep you on track toward your ultimate marketing goal. No one runs a marathon without first planning to run one mile, then five miles, then 10 miles and so on until they get to 26.2 miles. You need smaller goals to make sure you’re continuously working on your long-term goal, but also, to celebrate your achievements thus far. It’s no fun to work hard for weeks and months with nothing to show for it – no celebration.
Whenever my team has completed a short-term goal we celebrate by going out to eat together or by going to a movie after work. Your celebration can be whatever you want it to be, as long as it motivates you to keep working.
3. Success is a decision. I like this one from Coyne. No one stumbles onto success. It’s always created by driven people who want it. If you don’t consciously make the decision to succeed in your marketing plan, you’ll no doubt fail. Success is partly a mindset. What can be considered a success to one person (100 new leads!) could be a failure to another person (only 100 new leads?).
Once you’ve made the decision to succeed, you need to take steps to make it happen. Reading this blog and others like it is one way to make it happen. Dedicating time and effort is another way.
Now I would add the following to this list:
1. Practice. When I was an athlete, the team got better by practicing. Practice by testing your marketing materials – test brochure copy or flyer design. Conduct a focus group to see which tag line they prefer. Test out your marketing materials before you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on them. Each time you have a brochure or direct mail postcard no one likes or that needs to be improved on, look at it as practice.
2. Keep it consistent. Your marketing plan won’t work if no one knows your company. A big goal of marketing is to create a brand that is recognizable so that consumers remember you. If all of your marketing materials and packaging look different, how’s anyone going to remember you? People will get confused and will turn to other brands that they understand.
3. Use technology to your advantage. Many companies still don’t have Web sites. Many companies still don’t have blogs. I would say that unless companies keep up with the changing technology and the changing marketing culture around that technology, they’ll have a hard time finding success. You have to go to where technology takes your customers and meet them there.