When you think about it, the role of mommying provides a strong metaphor for marketing. In both instances, you have to set ground rules based on what is anticipated but quickly adapt based on reality. The rules in these categories are in constant flux and what worked last year, last week or even yesterday may no longer be effective. Here are some marketing tips motivated by parenting:
Know your brand. Just as a mom needs to fine tune parenting techniques based on her children, a business needs to remember that its brand is an individual. Avoid applying trendy marketing techniques because they seem to work for other companies; only you can know what will really prove effective for your business model (and your clients and customers, too).
Integrate a variety of marketing strategies. In the national parenting discussion, there are “tribes” comprised of parents defined by their style of child-rearing. There are Tiger Parents, Helicopter Parents, Free-Range Parents and Attachment Parents, just to name a few. The problem with these definitions is that most parents are a hybrid version of these categories. The same is true of marketing. There is no reason why an established, “traditional” company can’t have a fun, casual social media presence. After all, as mentioned earlier, companies are people, too. On the other hand, a small startup should rely on more than just attention-grabbing email blasts. Pick and choose the promotional techniques that best fit your company personality and avoid pigeonholing your marketing reach.
Read up and reach out. In parenting and in marketing, there’s really no reason to reinvent the wheel. Read the latest information available in both areas in terms of effective practices and emerging technology. Connect to other people or local businesses that you relate to and learn from them. Even opposing viewpoints can teach you something about your own strategies.
Plan for interruptions. I’ve often joked that I hope I never get sick because all of my sick days are typically used for the days my kids are under the weather. Being a parent means cancelling a meeting when the school calls or playing catch-up after chicken pox keeps you home for a few days. Marketing strategies face similar challenges. Roadblocks pop up in planning stages and detours are needed when campaigns are simply not delivering results. Understand that not every promotional initiative is linear and be willing to adjust as needed.
Hang in there. Some days are just plain difficult for parents. There are days when I feel like every ounce of energy is being used up by my kids, pets and husband and I get very little in return. These are low points, of course, but the good news? They don’t last long. People who work in marketing have similar days. One creative and successful marketing campaign does not automatically ensure the next one will measure up. It takes a lot of determination to move forward in times of low motivation or writer’s block. Even then, best concepts can fall flat when put into play. As a character in a favorite movie around here says, “just keep swimming.”
It’s amazing just how closely parenting and marketing are intertwined, isn’t it? If you’ve noticed any other similarities, I’d love to hear them!
Katie Parsons is a part-time writer for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes in business news affecting major markets and marketing of small businesses. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
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