1. Start with a Plan
Structure is important for kids – they crave predictability and stability. And the logistics of going anywhere or doing anything with a baby is far more difficult than doing so on your own. As a result, you have to plan everything.
Marketing is no different. Before you launch a marketing initiative, you absolutely must start with a strategic plan. Understanding where you want to end up, the timeframe involved, the deliverables required, and the metrics that you’ll analyze along the way are all essential to being successful. As a marketer, I already knew this, but having a baby really hammered the point home that no matter how many times you’ve done something, you have to go in with a uniquely customized plan to be successful.
2. Adaptability is Key
Parenting Manual page 1: Make a plan. Parenting Manual page 2: Throw the plan out the window.
It’s hard going with the flow as a teeny tiny person’s needs and schedule and demeanor control what we do and when we do it. It’s always unpredictable and you absolutely have to be flexible. In fact, you need to learn to love the unpredictability or you might lose your mind.
As a marketer, I sometimes struggle with how fast everything moves because I want some predictability in my job to give me confidence. But time and time again, I’m reminded that no matter what I want, marketing best practices are always going to move at the speed of light and failing to adapt will cause me to be left behind. So just like changing my Mom mentality, I’ve had to change my marketer perspective as well so that I anticipate changes that are coming and welcome the new opportunities that they provide.
3. Anticipate the Worst
This sounds doomsday-ish but it’s true. You always have to be ready for the worst-case scenario to ensure that you have everything you need for a baby. I’m the Mom that has a giant diaper bag stocked with everything imaginable because I know that the one time I don’t have something, I’ll need it.
From a strategic planning perspective, the best marketers can identify threats and weaknesses ahead of time to make contingency plans. In my younger years, I would jump head first into things and just deal with pitfalls and obstacles as they arose. Now that I’m wiser (or at least older), I’m more cautious. I think further ahead and plan for what I’ll do if a marketing campaign doesn’t meet its objectives.
4. Look for Exciting Opportunities
Everything is exciting to our son – the TV remote, our air purifier, sneakers, the kitchen trash can, a toilet paper roll. The things that I overlook every day are simply mesmerizing to him!
I think it’s easy for marketers to get jaded. We become prejudiced toward certain marketing channels or approaches after a bad experience and write them off. We ignore the hum drum settings in our email marketing software, online advertising platforms, or social media accounts even though they can make a big difference. Our son has made me realize that I need to slow down and look at things more closely to see them for their true potential.
5. Enjoy the Journey
It doesn’t matter where we’re going or what we’re doing, our son notices how we get there. He pays attention to how we go up the stairs or get into the car. He studies our breakfast routine and how we get ready for bed. The journey is as important to him as the destination.
With the constant focus on monitoring KPIs and hitting goals, marketers often jump from one objective to another. We rarely savor the time getting there (I blame our bosses for this 😉). I think we’d be a lot happier if we paid attention to the journey along the way and stopped to smell the roses occasionally.
6. A Mess Isn’t a Bad Thing
Kids are messy, and they love it! Blocks, balls, noodles – it all ends up everywhere while playing.
Let me make one thing clear – I love order. Nothing makes me more unfocused and jitterier than a mess. But there are days when my to-do list, notes, and my mind probably look a lot like our son’s playroom. And instead of trying to get it all neatly in order as quickly as possible, my son has taught me that it’s okay to play in this mess… that this mess might actually be the way that I achieve my top potential as a marketer.
7. Never Stop Learning
Every day our son learns something new. He’s growing in leaps and bounds and he’s just constantly learning about the world around him. Every time he gets the opportunity to try something new, he’ll tackle it and practice over and over to learn how to do it better.
I already strive for continuous learning in my field, but my son constantly reminds helps me how important this is so that I can keep growing as a marketer. In the same way that he might study a shape sorter, I read and re-read industry-related resources to help me hone my craft.
8. Keep Smiling
My favorite thing is when our son laughs. No matter how I’m feeling, that smile and giggle will brighten my day. He’s a really happy kid, which means that he’s smiling more often than not. Even if he’s doing something that he knows he shouldn’t, he just keeps smiling. His happy demeanor is infectious!
Life is too short to be annoyed or frustrated by your work. Our little guy reminds me that I should just be really thankful for the work that I get to do and the people I get to meet as a marketer and keep a good attitude.
What have you learned from your kids that has helped you professionally? Let other readers know in the comments below!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!