Challenge ‘What Is’

I recently went to a yoga class where the teacher, Tiffany, shared a personal story that really hit home with me. When she was 5 years old, without her grandpa’s or father’s knowledge, she overheard a conversation between the two of them. Her grandpa was telling her father how two of her cousins were very athletic but that Tiffany wasn’t and couldn’t even catch a ball.

Off the bat, Tiffany accepted this as a truth and went on to live the “un-athletic” persona, had a happy childhood, and described herself as more of a bookworm. She said, “That’s just who I was.” It wasn’t until she started doing yoga that she recognized her athletic ability and began challenging herself in new ways. And now Tiffany can proudly say that she has successfully completed a sprint triathlon and is a well-respected yoga teacher. She can even catch a ball!

This story got me thinking about what current situations I may be accepting as truths or just “the way it is.” Translating this over to the world of marketing automation, I started thinking about what programs we may be simply running while thinking, “This is just what works.” However, just because something is working, doesn’t mean it’s all we can do or that we’ve reached our full potential. We can’t grow as marketers and improve our results without questioning the status quo and challenging ourselves in new ways. In this spirit, I’m offering a few ways we can start to challenge “what is” and hopefully reach new heights:

  • Challenge what’s working. Oftentimes, we prioritize projects that are new or focus on programs that aren’t going so well. This can obviously be time well-spent, but we should also focus our efforts on improving what’s working and finding ways to make those programs even more successful. For instance, if our paid search campaigns are driving efficient and high lead volumes for us, we shouldn’t just set the program and forget it to focus on other marketing channels. If we focus on scaling our paid search campaigns, we can probably uncover even more opportunities.
  • Challenge the definition of what’s working. Over time, we typically find ourselves continuing the same initiatives we executed last year based on what we thought was working for us in the past. Of course, if something is working, we don’t want to ruin a good thing. But let’s ask ourselves, “Is it really working?” For instance, in B2B, we often participate in the same events and conferences year after year. We should dig deeper to understand what we’re truly trying to accomplish at each event and determine if they’re really working for us. An event may actually seem to only have mediocre performance when we measure it purely against driving new qualified leads. But maybe it has been great closing business or upselling to current customers. As our goals and priorities change, it’s important for us to reevaluate our definition of what’s working.
  • Challenge the why. Our world is filled with best practices and playbooks. These assets are incredibly helpful as they allow us to leverage practical learnings versus starting from scratch. However, don’t fall into the trap of doing something because it’s what other marketers are doing. We need to vet each initiative and be sure it makes sense for our business. Just because most companies have blogs these days, doesn’t mean we ought to go out and get one started too. Instead, let’s question why this would be good for our business and help us achieve our goals.

Growth is a process and doesn’t always happen overnight. Hopefully these few ideas will get you thinking differently about “what is” and start focusing on “what could be.” Let’s keep challenging ourselves to new heights!

Challenge Yourself image on home page via Shutterstock.

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