Now that I have fully recovered from my first ultra-marathon I’ve found myself thinking about how running one is like marketing.
I love running and helping to support other women achieve their running goals. I love my job and helping our fabulous candidates to secure their perfect job in marketing. But how is running a race like implementing a marketing plan?
A RACE IS NOT AN ISOLATED ACTIVITY - NEITHER IS MARKETING
When you run a marathon it is about more than just running, you train for months in the lead up to it. Implementing different training sessions, thinking about your nutrition and fuelling, testing your kit and planning for different weather conditions and thinking about your recovery. Marketing is not an isolated activity either, it is made up of multiple elements that all need to be planned around an end goal, this might mean planning social media campaigns, planning engaging events and designing printed marketing materials.
IT'S OK FOR GOALS TO CHANGE
When you sign up to an ultra-marathon you might have a specific time in mind, you train to achieve this time only to find that many barriers get in the way. The weather on race day might be completely different to what you have trained for, it might be really hot so you have to stop for extra breaks or it could be raining which will slow you down (and maybe make you miserable). Training may not have gone to plan if you are injured and your plan to run 3 times a week may be cut down to just once a week to prevent further injury. Your plans will change and so do your goals to reflect this.
Likewise a marketing plan can be fluid, it might have to change. If you set out to achieve your goal you may find that due to a change in what your audience wants to see and their behaviours, you may have to change your marketing activities. You may need more focus on digital marketing or you may need to try a different campaign if you are not yielding results with what you are currently doing.
You know you have to achieve a certain distance, but while you are excited and full of energy and enthusiasm at the beginning there is no point in sprinting from the start or you will burn out and not be able to achieve your goals. You need to pace yourself and stick to a consistent pace. Like marketing, you may have lots of great ideas but you can’t do it all at once. Set achievable goals and work at a consistent pace to ensure you reach your goals. You don’t have to do everything all at once.
MAKE IT FUN
Training for an ultra-marathon can be a painful process, some long runs may feel too long and you get bored. There may be time during the race where you question why you are even doing it. These are the times where you need to make it fun, play around with sessions, run with a running buddy and keep it interesting. Marketing should be fun, after all your key objective is to engage with an audience, stand out from the growing competition and be memorable. So keep it fun and enjoy what you do. If you believe in your marketing plan chances are others will as well.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SUPPORT
Most runners don’t run on their own. Especially in the world of ultra-running. There is a whole community of likeminded people who support each other and give advice and tips. Your supporters are what keep you going when things get tough. Marketing is about engaging with your audience and making the most of the brand ambassadors that you have who will help you on your journey.
The key to marketing is to plan, deliver and analyse. You wouldn’t show up to an ultra-marathon without training. You plan the race, you go out and implement your plan and then you spend time afterwards reflecting on and analysing your performance. Looking at what went well and what you could do differently next time. You wouldn’t show up on the day unprepared so don’t deliver a marketing strategy with no planning.
Marketing is an ultra-marathon not a sprint.