Monday, November 16, 2020

What a Professional Racer Taught Us About Marketing

What do motorcycles and marketing have in common? They both start with the letter ‘M’; upon first glance, this may be all you find. But dig a little deeper. What does an individual need to have for both professions? 🏍

Guts. Marketers and professional motorcycle racers need to be brave and willing to take risks in their careers. And that’s what Carla Cruz, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Trinchero Family Estates and professional motorcycle racer, discussed during her episode on the Real Marketers podcast. Being a bada** is something both marketers and professional racers need to embrace in their careers. Let’s explore why.

Risky-decisions Pay Off 

Fun fact: there are some people who actually have a specific gene that predicts if you are a natural risk-taker. I’m willing to put marketers and motorcycle racers have this specific gene. Research has also found people that consider themselves ‘night owls’ are more predisposed to taking risks, compared to their “early-bird gets the worm” counterparts. Sound like anyone you know? Just look at LinkedIn past 8 p.m., and you’ll see the flood of marketing posts come in (including yours truly).

Professional racers and marketers are natural risk-takers. If we always played it safe, we would never take home the gold. A motorcycle racer would never win first place, and a marketer’s efforts would never get noticed. In order to do our jobs, we have to be willing to put it all on the line.

If you’re ever a fly on the wall during a brainstorming session here at Lumavate, you’ll probably hear the phrase “I have a crazy idea…” (And no, it’s not always who Stephanie Cox proclaims this). The room (or virtual room) goes silent. We know we’ve got our next big idea (or at least the genesis of one). Crazy ideas are magical; they’re what propels your business forward. Crazy ideas are the closest thing to a viral button. And they’re also the reason why you landed a meeting with your dream customer.

Unmute yourself during your next Zoom, voice your crazy idea out loud (instead of just Slacking it to your co-worker), and see where it goes. It could be a huge flop, but it’s better than being the quiet, unforgettable person in the meeting.

You’re Going to Fall Off the Bike a Few Times

What if your idea does flop? Will you never be able to show your face on camera again in a meeting? No, that would be ridiculous (even though traditional phone calls are sorely missed). If a motorcycle racer fell once, would you expect his or her career to be over? No. They get back up and keep going.

Unless your brand had a major scandal (like Pepsi back in 2017), everything is going to be okay. Maybe your messaging didn’t resonate with consumers, or perhaps it wasn’t promoted well. Whatever the reason, learn from it. Deep-dive into why it was a failure. Write down actionable steps you can take to prevent this from happening again. And remember, learning from our mistakes is the only way we’ll learn, right?

I’ll give you an example. One time, I was working on a massive email campaign that possessed a subscriber list of thousands of individuals. It was 4:30 p.m. on a Friday, and completing this task was the only thing standing between me and the weekend. I drafted the email, did a quick glance-over, and hit send (I think you know where this is going). You’re trying to get out of the office by a certain time, and the name of the game is to complete your task as quickly as possible. I realized on Monday I had made the grave error of mistaking ‘your’ for ‘you’re’ (a crime I’ll never forgive myself for). Though it was only a small grammatical error, I learned a very important lesson that day – check your work. From this day forward, I re-read any email to the point of exhaustion.

It’s Good to Be a Little Weird

You don’t have to be a professional racer to be an ace marketer. Our hobbies and outside interests have a huge impact on what we do. Embrace the more eccentric side of yourself. Having a less main-stream hobby will help you see marketing through a different lens. 🔍

I have a passion for music. I will spend hours on Spotify searching for obscure Indie bands that create music that’s different from the United States Top 50. Songs that play with certain sounds, or sound a little offbeat are so fascinating to me. What I didn’t realize before listening to Carla’s podcast episode was how much I bring this love to do things differently into my work. Reflect on the hobbies you enjoy and how they impact your work. Lean into the obscurity of things. I promise it will resonate with someone.

No matter what your life looks like outside of marketing, you are kick-a**. How do I know this? Well, stumbling across this blog post is a good indicator. Want to join other marketers who eat the word “no” for breakfast? Join our Real Marketers Community. We promise there’s no BS there.