Today, I took a big step in mom-ing and sent my one and only little darling off to Kindergarten. I truly cannot believe it, as I know it was only two days ago that I had tears in my eyes from cheering while watching her roll over during tummy time. Yet, here we are somehow.
When she started preschool as a three-year-old, I started a tradition of writing all her favorites on a piece of paper. Yes, a lot of people use fancy chalkboards and such, but I just color on a piece of 8.5” x 11” paper. As I listened to her answer the questions and explain her favorites, it made me think about how creative and openminded we are at five.
I often try to think about my daughter’s perspective as I look for creative ways to solve marketing problems or reach new customers. Or, maybe more often, as I’m teaching her how to better handle her own problems so she can grow as a person. It’s always easier to see something in a miniature version of yourself.
Also, I think about how I want her to see herself and what she has the ability to do and to become. In any profession, especially marketing, it’s important to be confident in your ability and industry expertise. It’s also important to be able to think outside of the box and grow as a professional, but there are also a lot of things that we’ve probably known for a long time. Some of them are good reminders about marketing and about life in general.
Here are 5 important marketing lessons I have known since Kindergarten:
1. Be more than ONE thing.
When I asked my daughter the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She looked at me for a minute, and then she said, “Well, my job is a doctor dentist, but at home, I’m a mom with triplets.” Side note: I think she wants triplets, so she has an excuse to buy a Honda Odyssey minivan. The girl knows what she wants, and it’s a minivan!
It’s true though, why do you have to be just one thing? Does being some thing, one thing define us? Or are we made up of all the many pieces of the things we do and enjoy? And why does such an age-old question expect that we should narrow it down to only one thing? I certainly see myself as more than a marketing consultant. I’m also a mom, a girlfriend, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a writer, a poet, a designer, a fitness enthusiast, and the list goes on. Don’t limit yourself.
You can certainly be more than one thing when you grow up, and you should focus on all of it to live a happy and satisfied life. Also your customers or potential customers are more than a job title listed on a piece of paper. They also have personal relationships and enjoy doing things outside of their job title. If we learn more about who we are trying to reach, we can perhaps do a better job of solving their problems and offering them useful goods and services. When I started working for an engineering company, I was amazed at how many of the principals in the company worked at ski resorts and National Parks like I did in my 20s. It gave us a common interest and always something fun to talk about besides work.
2. Learn to have many favorites.
Once again, I asked a pretty typical question: “What do you love to do?” She looked at me confused, so I had to give some examples. If we could do anything right now, what would it be? “Oh, I really love to play games…” Then she watched me coloring the piece of paper. “But, I really love coloring the most. You are good at coloring, Mommy.”
Everyone has more than one favorite. In fact, many activities build upon each other to make us well rounded. And our favorite activities or hobbies often change depending on where we are at in our careers or life. Favorite activities may also change depending on who you share them with.It’s an important marketing lesson to offer multiple pathways and messages that tie into your main brand story and experience.
Depending on where you meet your customer or where they are at in their marketing journey, a certain message or platform may make more sense to them. Even though it’s important to stick with some tried and true favorite marketing promotions or marketing techniques that work for your business, it’s also smart to research new channels and platform, especially if you know your customers may be visiting those channels and offer some new messaging that might help them see a new solution or idea about the way they are doing business.
3. Just show up.
Despite all the nervousness and excitement, we got up today and went through the routine of breakfast and getting dressed, and then drove over to the elementary school and walked in the door. And once you’re in the door, it gets easier from there. It’s easier said than done to show up. Some of my clients ask me to help their business show up everywhere. How do I make my business rank number one on Google? How do I make sure people open my marketing emails? Is my business on all the right social media channels? Where and how will people find my business online?
I wish there was a way to wave a magic wand or snap your fingers, and make it happen. The truth is you have to learn as much as you can about your customers, and then show up as much as possible in the places they will be. Consistency and timing are big in content marketing and SEO. If you continue to put solid information out there that help solve your customers problem, they will most likely find you. And once you’re in the door, it gets easier from there.
4. Share your experience.
I admit, I had no idea what to expect when I took my daughter to the first day of school today. Would I be excited or sad? Would I cry? Other mom friends I know are going through the same thing. It’s a bittersweet time for sure. She had no idea what to expect, so we just did our best. As I walked her to the classroom, the entire hall was full of Kindergartners on their first day. There’s ALWAYS somebody, some place going through the same type of work problem or personal situation as you are, and maybe they’re not even that far away from you. It’s okay to ask for help or ask others what to do. Maybe they are just waiting for you to ask! It’s also a great way to share information through an anecdote or analogy. People learn from experiences and sharing experiences with others can be very useful.
5. Confidence goes a long way.
We went to the store last night to pick out a first day of school outfit. She ended up buying a matching nightgown for her doll and herself, but that’s another story. She picked out a unicorn shirt and a skirt that has glitter hearts on it. It’s important to dress to impress and represent your brand. Your brand is more than a logo, it’s also you and your employees and how you present your company. For my daughter, a unicorn shirt and glitter skirt is a perfect representation of who she is.
She also accessorized with a necklace from her cousin who she admires greatly, and a black bow that reminds her of her favorite YouTube star JoJo Siwa. It’s smart to wear some things that make you feel comfortable or remind you of people that you admire when working on something new or important. Her teacher gave her some glitter confetti to put under her pillow the night before school to help her sleep and be ready for a great first day of Kindergarten. It’s also smart to give some type of take away for your customers that represents you, but that you know also fits into their brand. Glitter confetti? A perfect match for our dear little Kindergartener.
Will you share your marketing lessons or life lessons from your or your child’s first day of school?