One of the things I really enjoy doing is exploring research and ideas that are a little outside mainstream marketing – and then seeing if they can be applied back in my world.
It was through that exploration I bumped into the work of Michelle Segar – a researcher into sustainable behaviour change in the areas of health and exercise.
Segar's contention – backed by a ton of research and experience over the last 30 years – is that trying to motivate people to lose weight and exercise to improve their health just doesn't work.
It's too focused on a potential future benefit rather than immediate gratification. And too often it gives people yet another thing to try to cram into their busy lives.
It sounds a lot like trying to motivate people to do regular marketing like writing emails or following up with contacts.
The benefit of more clients happens in the future, and is far from certain. And it's yet another thing that you have to cram into a busy workday.
Segar's work has shown that it's better to get people to focus on the immediate gratification they'll get from exercise – for example feeling better and less stressed – rather than the long-term gains.
And if you can show them how exercise gives them more energy which makes all the other things they've got to do much easier, you're on to a winner.
But I think most importantly when it comes to marketing, Segar's research showed that it's much better to allow people to do the imperfect exercise they enjoy rather than the perfect one they hate. And to allow them to find that exercise they enjoy themselves.
In marketing (and business generally) there's way too much “this is the best way to do things” advice.
Often it's done with the best of intentions. Sometimes it's done to sell you a shiny new toy or course.
But none of it is done with the realisation that the only marketing that works is marketing you actually do, and do regularly.
So if you enjoy the third best or the seventh best or second worst way of marketing and you'll keep at it – that could well be the “best” marketing for you.
At least for now.
Segar's research has also shown that starting with a small good habit you can do often leads to taking on something bigger and enjoying that too.
And if you don't enjoy any marketing?
Keep trying different approaches until you find one you do. Or think creatively about how to make something you do enjoy work from a marketing perspective.
Remember at the start I said “One of the things I really enjoy doing is exploring research and ideas that are a little outside mainstream marketing”?
Emails like this and similar content I create are my way of turning that thing I enjoy doing into something that works from a marketing perspective for me.
There will be something you can find for you too.