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July 29, 2015
Five Things Marketers and Runners Have in Common
 
Though we are fans of taking our digital pedestal to discuss marketing and advertising theory, behavioral economics, consumer behavior, trends in the industry, and the gloomy client/agency relationship, we, like you, occasionally need a break.

The wise Willy Wonka once said, “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”

Though we do not consider ourselves as part of the “wisest men” crowd, we can surely copy their example.

We are quite involved in both populations of runners and marketers, so we compiled our own unscientific list of what they have in common.

1. It takes strategy to be successful.
Yes, though some people have the gift of being flight of foot, the majority need work in order to win races. Each race is different, and each competitor is different. A runner must be prepared by knowing their competition. The same can be said for marketers; some of the people in our industry are naturally talented and creative. Others need to take a more pragmatic, tactical approach to gathering a target market and beating the competition.

2. Practice makes perfect.
A runner works hard and often in order to stay in the best of shape. A runner has a plan, creates and follows a regimen, has a coach to lead their efforts, and uses intentional effort to be the best they can possibly be for the next competition. Same for a marketer; a marketing professional, in order to be successful, is looking over case studies, examining their successes and failures, and figuring out what they can do in order to get better. This includes professional development and finding a mentor to guide them.

3. It’s harder than it looks.
We all have that friend that watches an ad and then retorts, “I could do that. Doesn’t seem that hard.”

And you want to hit them.

Marketing is a vehicle that includes many moving parts. In these days, it takes a nearly perfect assembly of parts for the vehicle to get where it needs to go. Same with running; watch a 400m (one track lap) runner fall to the ground grasping for air, then exclaim that it doesn’t seem that bad. Then lace up your shoes and try it yourself.

4. Your friends think you’re crazy to do it.
The long days, the hard work, the sometimes thankless efforts. The stressful nights, the short amount of sleep. People demand more from you with fewer resources. Sometimes being micromanaged to the point of frustration. The times you work so hard to come up short. Sometimes way short.

Yes, both runners and marketing professionals can have those feelings. But see number five.

5. Hard work pays off, and wins make it worth it.
Whether you win an account or a race, that sense of euphoria gives you a sense of accomplishment that you need to carry on. There may be more lows than highs, but man, are those highs awesome.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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