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Getting Back to Basics: What I Learned at Ski Camp

One of my favorite activities is snow skiing, and unfortunately due to a ski accident that left me with a replaced ACL and repaired meniscus, I have not skied for 2 years. I recently signed up for a Ski Biomechanics Camp in Telluride, Colorado and envisioned myself skiing the hard runs I used to ski.  The camp is run by a former head of orthopedic surgery and has an amazing instructor to skier ratio, so I felt very safe in trusting my post-injury knee with the team from the Telluride Ski School. My goal for the camp was to get back into skiing again without injury. What really happened was so much more than that. I learned that getting back to basics helps you fix what is broken and develops a strong base for growth.

On the first day, we learned about the importance of a good base, and on the snow, we worked on properly edging our skis. The minutiae of tilting my feet to move my skis from edge to edge was excruciating. Couldn’t I just ski? I knew I wanted to improve my skiing and to minimize my chance for further injury and pain, so I stuck with it.

At the end of 3 days, I was linking tight turns and edging my skis properly. My final video showed the parts of the turn from entry to neutral to end. Each turn was a perfectly formed ‘S’ shape. I will never be Mikaela Shiffrin, but I was pleased with my progress.  The entire experience made me think of the necessity of getting back to the basics of marketing.

Getting Back to Basics

Today there are so many new marketing vehicles that promise high returns and equally high complexity. I find that many of my clients have often been overwhelmed with the length of the must-do list, especially as it relates to digital. For any marketing to be effective, you need to make sure your base is clearly defined, and you are focused on the critical pieces, just like the edges in my ski turns. Marketing will be ineffective if you are not targeting the correct consumer. It will be also ineffective if you are using the wrong channels. Just as it would have been simple for me to ski quickly down the hill, it is often very tempting just to sign up for some new, quick marketing tool without making sure you are targeting correctly. To avoid these pitfalls, get back to basics. I recommend 4 critical steps:

  1. Identify your optimal consumer – this may seem simple, but it is critical. This may change over time as your business changes. 

  2. Determine the best channels to target your consumer – This may require testing and trial.

  3. Implement marketing through those channels – You may implement this on your own or through an expert in the area you choose. 

  4. Evaluate and update – This is the most critical piece. The marketplace changes constantly, and marketing is never stagnant. What provided a great return 6 months ago, may not be effective today. If you are employing experts, make sure they provide you with the data to support their conclusions, and that you are equipped to review that data.

Although I was a very good skier, without my instructor I could not recognize what errors I was making in my turns. This is often how it is with our businesses. We are experts at our subject matter or delivering the best product possible, but we often get caught up in what we do rather than how that meets our customer’s needs.

Just as the knowledge I gained at ski camp is just one step in my process towards a perfect ski turn, so is the process to perfect your marketing. It is constantly evolving, not set it and forget it. If you would like to start the process to identify the basics and improve your marketing, I offer regular live webinars on identifying your optimal consumer and maximizing your marketing.  Sign up for an upcoming webinar.

Article originally published on LinkedIn on 1/28/2020 by Kendra Williams

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