Thursday, 29 April 2010

Why marketing and running need good data

I joined a running club last night. Don’t laugh. I mean, it is funny because I’m not what you might call a runner. I was so useless that I got pulled off the track half way through the 4-lap exercise. Needless to say, I’m in the “slow group.”

Our coach is a wise and wiry 70+ running veteran called Tom. He ran the London Marathon last weekend and was still a little stiff from the exertion. I would have been in a wheelchair! But he was kind and quietly pointed out that he didn’t start out running marathons: he worked up to it over a period of time and I should expect to do the same.

He took his induction group through the basics: track safety, warming up and stretching afterwards - all carefully explained with good reasons for each task. Despite feeling like I didn’t belong amongst such talented runners, I was made welcome and reminded that perseverance pays.

Marketing is no different. Early attempts look clumsy compared to the professionals, but everyone has to start somewhere and the more we work at it, the easier it gets. In marketing, as in running, strength comes over a period of time and we learn from each mistake. At least it does with marketing, for now I'll have to take Tom's word for the running.

Building a solid business through marketing has another similarity to running – both need good data to keep motivated and moving forward. In marketing it is number of enquiries, new customers and profitability. In running it is distance, pace and time. Take away the data and both disciplines would struggle.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you why I’ve joined a running club, and what I think is most important with both marketing and running. Right now, I'm going to sit down because my feet are a little sore!

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