I started rock climbing roughly two years ago to get away from my life and my job. Climbing, whether in the gym or outdoors, had an end goal. You get to the top, and you’re done. Everything else I did in my life seemed like there was no reward for the strain and effort put into it. In marketing, there is constant ebb and flow of campaigns to no end. Build, execute, measure, revisit, and add.

I discussed this with a good friend of mine when I was in law school at the time, and she told me that she became a pie addict. As the long hours whittled away her appetite, she relished in baking lots and lots of pies. When I asked her why, she said, “There’s no theory. I put in the work; I get a pie.”

So I continued climbing, and she continued baking, thinking that we were escaping from our work – getting to the top or getting a pie.

We were both wrong.

For me, rock climbing became a re-establishment of what I love to do in my profession, in marketing. Build, execute, measure, revisit, and add.

Building an Anchor

In order to climb successfully and safely, you need to make sure you have the right equipment in place to hold your weight, should you fall. No matter what happens, you always have an anchor and a rope.

In marketing, you always have a strategy. Even if you fall, your strategy should be strong enough to save you.

Execute Beta

Beta is a climbing term that is information or suggestions about a route, whether it’s style, difficulty, rock quality, etc. A climber can receive beta to help them get up the wall.

In marketing, we have collaboration on tactics. What we should implement to get to the goal. If the beta, or tactics, works, we understand the way up the wall move-by-move.

Measure Results

Now this is not something most climbers think about, but it’s important. Often times, we finish a route and move on to the next one. However, paying attention to muscle soreness and where your body is feeling tension also helps us understand what went right or wrong. It’s about creating a positive muscle memory.

Doing a lap, or repeating the route, also strengthens us and helps us realize, and even fix, the mistakes we made on the first try. It makes us better climbers, and we can determine which muscles and motions are more effective for each move.

Not measuring results is where many marketers fall off the bandwagon as well. We’re always looking ahead and onto the next campaign, the next month, quarter, year. But in order to learn we must go back and see what worked and what didn’t. Which muscle did we work? Which one should we have been working?

And it never hurts to repeat campaigns to have consistency in your brand awareness. Annual reports or surveys or eBooks, help your target audience expect and look forward to your content, extending your reach. You can then track and build upon each piece, making it different and expanding the campaign over several years.

Revisit Strategy

The truth is we don’t climb only one mountain. Any business growth graph will show peaks and valleys, meaning that we climb multiple mountains as we absorb larger audiences and more employees. For this reason, different mountains require different types of anchors and for different use cases. This is why we revisit terrain and determine, based on what we see, which anchor would be most functional given the circumstances.

Sound familiar? Revisiting your marketing and sales strategy is of utmost importance so that you can make sure that the anchor will always save you. I add sales strategy in here, because the alignment is essential to the overall goal of these departments, which is more often than not to maintain and grow revenue.

To expand the climbing analogy to have an anchor be the entire company, marketing and sales are two carabineers working together to hold a piece of the anchor in place. We’re all connected.

Add Technique

As you continue you to climb, the next step is to add and improve technique. Awkward moves become commonplace as you improve. After time, the same rock face is easy to climb, because of the process you put in place.

Need I say more? Learn new techniques and try different tactics in your strategy. Improve upon what you built and learn every step of the way.

The key takeaway here is that sometimes we are unable to escape the things we love. We sometimes need to look at them in new light. There you have it.

As far as baking pies while in law school… well, that’s a story for my friend to tell.