While, ironically, out on a run, I started thinking about work and started to realize some similarities in the work we as marketers are doing on a regular basis and running. Here are the top 5:
- Setting Goals = Running Objective
In marketing you are typically setting goals to achieve throughout the year. This can include the obvious grow revenue over last year or to more tactical like increase email address capture rate from the website. Whatever those goals may be, you set out to achieve those goals in the upcoming year. Just like in marketing, when running you set goals as well. I want to run a marathon or qualify for the Boston Marathon, to even more tactical ones as well like wanting to run a 5 minute mile (no idea how elite runners can keep that pace!). Having these set upfront allows you to properly plan whether it's your training schedule or marketing efforts.
- Budgets = Energy
Every marketer is given a budget (now whether it is as much as they want is another topic). Budgets can be similar to your energy to complete your runs. There will be days where maybe you don't have the energy you needed or wanted but you continue to make the most of what your given to ensure you meet your partciular goals. Either way, you want to ensure you spend the budget your given so that you can make the most of your efforts. In running you want to make sure that you literally run out of energy by the end. This way you gave your best shot to hit those goals.
- Analytics = Body Scan
In today's digital marketing, data points are easy to come by but it's understanding which ones to pay attention to in order to better understand what is going on and make adjustments. Visits, pageviews, conversions, clicks, and the list goes on at the metrics you can monitor. In running these can be your breathing (are your lungs burning), soreness in legs or knees, body temperature, feet (I won't mention toe nails...) and so on. Constantly monitoring these efforts over time will help you understand what is going on and what you might need to do to improve.
- Optimization = Speed Up or Slow Down
As you start to learn what is going on based on your analytics insights, you can start to optimize those efforts. In marketing this is a constant fine tuning and tweaking to increase that revenue per email or cost per click. Runners do this all the time to determine if you need to slow down or speed up. Let the data inform you of what is happening, and use your insights to adjust and optimize.
- It takes a team
In order to achieve great success, it takes more than just you. It's the support of the Ecommerce director, your data analyst, the content marketing manager and so on. With out them, you can't fire on all cylinders to exceed those goals and you don't have anyone to celebrate in your combined successes! Running is not for loners either. It's the support of your family and friends that can keep you motivated and are the first to be there and celebrate the goals you achieve like running your first race!
While this focused just on running, I'm sure there are other sports or activities that share very similar commonalities. Let us know in the comments.