Marketing Tactics: Like Riding a Bicycle

Do you remember the first time you were able to ride a bicycle?  It is an early defining moment in our lives, it signifies commitment, independence, and achievement.   More importantly it is a major triumph over frustration and failure.  All jammed into a few precious, exhilarating moments when you feel the rush of success.  It is a major achievement in our young lives.

Think about the events that led to that triumphant, albeit fear-filled moment.  What preparation was involved?  How many tries did it take before you had “success”.  Since I recently experienced this with my kids, I have a working knowledge of what the typical experience is:

  • Practice on a tricycle, which of course is very difficult to roll over, making it an ideal first step.Kid riding a bike
  • Advance to a two-wheeler (with training wheels) which is more challenging.  This to gain some moderate exposure to maintaining balance.
  • Taking the training wheels off, and relying on someone else (a parent) to run alongside with you to keep you going.
  • Going solo – 100% on your own.  No training wheels, unassisted.
  • And then you FALL!

That is our focus today – the FALL.  What happened to you as a kid when you fell that first time.  Barring some serious injury, you likely ended up with a scraped knee, maybe a slightly bruised ego, and perhaps a few tears.  BUT YOU SURVIVED and you got back up on the bike and tried again.  Your probably went a little further, and then probably failed again.  Maybe this time you were better at falling, and avoided the scraped knee.  Eventually, through a series of attempts and inevitable failures, you succeeded.  Good thing you did not quit, or worse yet let your fear prevent you from trying in the first place.

If only we could apply this “wisdom of a child” to our marketing efforts; we would be so much better off.  In other words, plan on the scraped knee, since is part of the process.  Marketers are sometimes paralyzed by an extreme fear of failure, and they find comfort in long drawn out research and planning, which can be the handcuffs that prevent them from grabbing the opportunity.  Don’t try to devote a ton of energy and resources trying to deliver the “perfect” campaign, product launch, or promotion.  Don’t let “perfect” stand in the path of “good”.  Refining good repeatedly can get you to great.  Great is not the first part of the process.  You must fail – that is really how you learn how to do things.  You can’t formulate the perfect plan by having fantastic up-front work and preparation.  It simply does not work that way.  Do you remember reading a lot of books as a kid on how to ride a bike?

Be advised I am not advocating spending a bunch of time and money on every random idea.  I am suggesting you try a lot of new things (on a small-scale at first).  I can assure you if you try a lot of things on a trial basis, you will have many failures but also some very pleasant surprises.  Nike built a fantastic campaign around this concept – JUST DO IT!  A scraped knee does not hurt that long anyway.

PS – If I waited to develop the perfect blog post – I would still be editing post Number 1.  But that is not what this is about.  Perfect is not my goal – sharing ideas is.  By that measure I have already had a few “mini-successes”