I just got back from four days in Santa Cruz, about an hour south of San Francisco on the coast. Gorgeous unobstructed view from this hidden little hamlet where we rented a forties-era cottage. We were a hundred feet up on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. The first night, I saw dolphins jumping through the reflection of the moon on the waves.
I used to live in a small beach town, and getting back to the ocean is like visiting a long-lost friend. While the dog played and my Significant Other stuffed her pockets with perfect sea shells, I just stood and watched the surf. The sound of the ocean, to me, is like an ancient voice that’s been droning on about important stuff since the dawn of time.
Four days without a newspaper or television. Very quickly, you can get back your concentration, and start tasting and hearing and feeling things again that the culture has numbed down.
It clears the head.
When I got back to the office, nothing much had changed with the world. The media was hyperventilating over some new bullshit non-crisis, and politicos were spinning like dervishes over the same nonsense they’d been whining/yelling/insinuating about the week before. War and rumors of war were everywhere. And the economy was either back-sliding or going great guns… depending on who was talking.
The din is stunning, when you leave and come back to it.
Now, as a marketer, you gotta go deep into the world of your prospect. I’m amazed that so many rookie marketers try to game the system, by skipping over the inconvenient research details and rushing to send out ads that don’t have a chance of convincing anyone to buy. You gotta read what your audience reads, and think like they think — even if you disagree.
Every niche market has it’s own mini-culture, with its own lingo and it’s own history and it’s own code of honor. Ignore these important details at your peril. Connect your “insider” knowledge with broader knowledge of what’s going on, and you’ll be weighing your profits in buckets. You must become part sociologist, part psychologist, and all-around voodoo salesman to find — and then needle mercilessly — the passionate sweet spot of your prospect. That’s why the best marketers read newspapers and magazines and watch popluar culture television shows. They are hip to what’s happening, and can intelligently talk about it.
You can’t market in a vacuum.
But here’s the kicker: You also can’t market when your brain has been turned to mush by too much popular culture.
Thus: You gotta dis-engage, regularly, and get outa Dodge. Let your grey matter recharge and soften up a bit. Go somewhere you can’t get to a newspaper or magazine easily, and let the dog decide where you’re gonna hike this morning.
The day before I left on my little mini-vacation, I struggled to get through a normal hour’s worth of work in four hours. I was toast. The evening I got back — even after a six-hour marathon drive home — I did four hours worth of work in ninety minutes. And enjoyed it.
A notorious “lifestyle” coach revealed the secret to me long ago — every month, get out of town. Even if you only have two days, do it. You are not doing your bottom line — or your life — any favors by dulling your system with too much work, too little sleep, and a lack of adventure and fun.
And that’s my holiday advice to you. Come January, and you’re looking ahead with a refreshed sense of lust and topped-off tanks of piss and vinegar, you’ll thank me.
Side Note: As many people (a small mob, in fact) have taken the time to observe, I have not been allowing comments on this blog. It’s a time thing — I’m just attempting to lay down a little honest content and info here, and I’m not really looking to start any conversations. So I blocked the comment option.
However… as an experiment… I am allowing comments on this entry. We’ll see what happens. So have at it. I will look over everything that’s said, but I’m making no promises…