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What hunting has taught me about marketing

I am a hunter. I hunt white-tailed deer each fall and winter during both archery and gun season. All this time out in the woods has made me realize that hunting shares some common elements with marketing. Some of these similarities include:

  1. There are different techniques and some are better than others. I personally hunt using a tree stand, which tends to be effective in Wisconsin’s woods. This means the deer come to me. Similarly, it is far better to have your customers come to you instead of having to stalk or drive them toward your service or product. Customers are smart and can feel if they are being pushed toward something. It is intrusive and they will resist. By having them come to you, it helps build trust and relationships.
  2. Be strategic, do research, and be prepared! Any hunter can walk in the woods and have a 50/50 chance of shooting a deer. However, each thing you do to prepare increases your odds; whether that is practicing, tuning your bow, scouting, planting a food plot, or holding off from eating that snack. In the same way, don’t jump to the tactical or creative elements of a marketing initiative without thinking about the strategy involved.
  3. Have a plan, but don’t be married to it. There have been many times that something doesn’t go according to plan while hunting. The deer might approach from a different direction, you might accidentally scare the deer up while approaching your stand, or most common of all you don’t see a single living animal. You should always have a plan in marketing, but if an opportunity arises or circumstances change you need to have the flexibility to adapt accordingly.
  4. Patience, patience and more patience. Bow hunting from a tree stand ultimately comes down to a waiting game. There have been seasons I haven’t seen a single deer. In marketing, you never know the exact journey the customer takes before the sale. They may have heard you speak at an event, followed you on social, and then a year later they see a blog post and realize he or she needs your service. Due to these multiple touches over time it can be difficult to determine exactly what marketing tactic was the deciding factor.