The world ends. Or at least it can feel that way.
This, like many if my random revelations, has an odd derivation. I have very excited about seeing The Foreign Exchange (TFE) live at this show in Charlotte. If for some odd reason you are not a fan of The Foreign Exchange, please watch this and listen to this and then come back and finish reading this post. I’ll wait.
Back? Great. Let’s continue.
Since now I am sure you love TFE as much as I do, you clearly understand why I was certain that there was no possible way they would be opening a concert I attended a few months ago (especially not when Lyfe Jennings was also on the show – if you don’t know who he is, don’t worry about it – you’re not missing much). We happened to be 30 minutes late, causing us to miss TFE, who happened to open the show.
My mistake? I didn’t take the time to understand the market. Since I, and now you, believe TFE is one of the most amazing musical groups making music right now, I figured they would be later in the evening. Had I taken the time to assess the likely concert goer for the show, I would have realized that he or she probably has no earthly idea who TFE (or who Phonte or Little Brother is for that matter). Armed with that information, I would have been able to make a better decision.
And that’s an inexcusable mistake for a marketer. Fortunately, my mistake only ruined my night. However, making that mistake with a client could be much more costly.
Let me pause here to say that we all make mistakes. We always have. We always will. We are imperfect creatures. And that’s ok. Our goal should be to minimize mistakes, learn quickly from the mistakes we do make, and share what we learn with our team to help make our collective efforts more meaningful and effective.
What I find with many of us—agencies and clients—is that we never really take the time to understand our markets. I mean reallly understand the people we want to communicate with and help with our goods or services. Because understanding people’s motivations and aspirations takes a lot of time, and time is something we don’t have a lot of. We can’t use that as an excuse though. When we do, we get things wrong. And getting things wrong can cost us more time (and money).
So, what can we do to minimize mistakes? Here’s another great opportunity learn from TFE.
- Keep your Eyes to the Sky.
Stop trying to just be better than your competitors and strive to exceed an internal standard of excellence. That standard should be high enough to make your organization stretch and grow. It should also include a goal of minimizing mistakes in planning, production, and delivery, which can be accomplished by creating learning and development opportunities for staff at every level and promoting a culture of sharing and openness that values and rewards identifying ways for the organization to improve.
- Leave it All Behind.
You will make mistakes. I promise. Learn from them, and leave them behind. Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull frames mistakes differently, asserting that failure “can be an opportunity for growth” and “embracing failure is an important part of learning.” So, part of those learning and development opportunities will include a total embrace of the certainty of making some mistakes. The key is using those mistakes to improve how you work.
- Keep a Daykeeper.
Ok. This one is a bit of a stretch, but I love this song. And I love the linked version of the song even more. It would probably help to listen to the original version first. For our purposes, a daykeeper is any tool you use to track tasks, milestones, deliverables, meetings, goals, objectives, and all of the other important things that drive success from projects to profits. We use Teamwork Projects, an absolutely amazing project management tool that facilitates team communication, helps track all elements of a project, and integrates with virtually every other piece of software you might use to manage your organization.
I’ll just leave this here in case you forget to click the link above because I don’t want you to miss this awesomeness.