When I was born, my first toy was a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal. 22 years later, I still have that old, tattered toy. He’s stained, has received more than a few stitches in his lifetime, and the fabric on the tag is worn and frayed. Needless to say, it was a staple of my childhood.
Marketing From The Hundred Acre Wood
By nature, Winnie the Pooh is an aloof bear who lives in The Hundred Acre Wood and likes to eat (and he’s short, fat, and proud of that). While that’s something I’m sure we all can relate to, what if he stepped out of The Wood and stepped into your organization as your next marketing guru? I know what you’re thinking: “How is that possible?” Well, Let’s look at four oddly profound quotes from our favorite Silly Old Bear that you should take into your next team meeting.
“I only get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been.”
Living in the past is not healthy for anybody, and it certainly won’t do you any good. In order to grow, it is imperative that you keep moving forward. Take a look at what’s worked and what just absolutely tanked throughout your company’s history. Look back, but don’t step back. View past successes as building blocks to a brighter future, and past failures as lessons that got you to where you are today and where you will be tomorrow.
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
The foundation of decent marketing is knowing the 4 W’s about your target market: who they are, where they are, what they are looking for, and when you can find them. No matter how ingenious your product offering; no matter how much YOU believe your product will change the world (even if it will), it is all for naught if people don’t know you exist. We live in a world of instant gratification where we can access the whole world with the tap of a finger — you can’t sit idly waiting for your big break; because, while you’re waiting, your competition is acting.
Look at your organization’s online presence. Is it warm and inviting? Are you reaching the right people? Does it even exist? If your answer is no, or even a hesitant shoulder shrug, you may be missing a large portion of your consumer base.
“You never can tell with bees”
Unless you’re a beekeeper, consider the bees your customers! You can plan, strategize, and have an award-winning team backing you; you can do all of the right things. But, much like a bee, the unfortunate truth is that customers can often be unpredictable. You can never tell what they’re going to do; their tastes and buying habits can change at the drop of a hat. To combat this, it’s important to be on top of current trends in your industry, and be ready, willing, and able to serve your consumers when the time comes. If you can keep up, they’ll be as sweet as honey. If you can’t, you may get stung.
“It’s hard to be brave when you’re only a very small animal”
Maybe you’re a startup. Be brave. Maybe you’re trying to pave your way in an oversaturated market. Be brave. Maybe you’re a small organization surviving solely on the support of your tiny community. Be brave.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are…BE BRAVE. There’s a certain kind of comfort that rests in complacency. While being comfortable is, well…comfortable, it’s not sustainable long-term. Take risks and dare to be different, but be smart. As an organization, don’t be afraid to take a long, hard look in the mirror from time to time. If you don’t like what you see, do something about if. If you’re content with what you see, look for ways to improve.
Even if you’re a tiny fish in a very big pond, you can still make a very big splash and create waves to disrupt whatever industry you’re a part of.
So, the next time you call a meeting with your team or are about to step into the boardroom, take a minute to step back into your childhood. Think back to the adventures of that silly cartoon bear and remember that moving forward and being brave, while uncomfortable, are essential to the success of your organization. Whether you’re a Winnie the Pooh fan or not, these sentiments remain true for seasoned veterans, newcomers, and everyone in between.
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