How hiking has improved my online marketing skills

Posted on September 15, 2010


Nancy Loderick on a NH mountain

 

It is only fitting that my inspiration for this post came to me as I was nearing the summit of Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire. The weather was classic New England early fall with a brilliant blue sky and sun shining brightly on the yellow birch leaves. Hiking has touched my life in so many ways.

Here’s how hiking has helped my online marketing skills:

1. Creativity.
When I’m out in nature, my mind is freed from mundane worries. I’m not concerned about coming up with new ideas; they just effortlessly pop into my head. I’m loving the creative flow!

2. Awareness.
Sometimes the trails aren’t that well marked so I have to really pay attention to where I’m going.

In marketing, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the details of a particular task and to forget the end goal. Does what you’re doing still make sense? If not, then stop doing it.

3. Flexibility.
The final path to the Mt. Monadnock summit was a rock wall! After spending 2 strenuous hours to get to this point, I didn’t feel it was safe for me to attempt this last part. I wanted to enjoy hike down the mountain as much as the hike up. I still had a glorious view, so I didn’t feel that I missed all that much by not getting to the summit.

Knowing when to switch course is important with marketing too. It’s pretty easy to set up online marketing, but it takes discipline to monitor results and to switch gears, if your efforts aren’t working.

4. Planning.
Climbing Mt. Monadnock was a new experience for me, so I wanted to be fully prepared. I carefully planned my hiking route, studied the trail map, watched the weather, had enough food and water, and prepared for cooler weather.

Planning is also crucial for marketing – as the old saying goes, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
Write down your goals, write down steps needed to achieve your goals. Periodically assess your progress.

5. Learning from the past, but not dwelling on the past.
I could have sworn that I climbed Mt. Monadnock 20+ years ago and it wasn’t that hard. Sure I was a lot younger then, but I was climbing with sneakers and I was a lot less fit than I am now (I was so busy focusing on my career to the detriment of everything else.) When I did the climb this time, it was tough! Maybe it was a different mountain that I climbed.

The business environment is constantly changing and what may have worked a year ago, may not now. Don’t rest on your past successes, always be on the lookout for new ways of doing things.

6. Not believing everything I read.
I carefully studied the trail descriptions before I started my hike. I made sure to stay away from any trail described as “strenous.” I chose trails that were described as the most popular route to the top. Mmm, I thought if the masses are doing this, they couldn’t be too hard. Boy was I wrong. Even the lower parts of the trails were tough. They weren’t a shear rock face, but they were steep and plenty rocky.

You’ll see lots of advice on how to best do online marketing. Some of it will be contradictory. The lesson I’ve learned is to read and learn as much as I can, and to try what I think will work best for my target audience..

7. Following my heart leads to stretching my mind.
My biggest lesson learned from all this is to find something you love doing, even if it’s a hobby and not your work. When you’re in the midst of doing this thing, you’ll be amazed at how it helps other parts of your life.

My next goal is to figure out how kayaking has helped my business skills and to blog about it.

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