Yard Sale – |ˈjɑrd ˌseɪl| – noun: “When a skier or snowboarder eats it on the slopes and loses all of their gear. If a skier loses his skies, poles, hat, goggles, and anything else, shout "YARD SALE" from the ski lift above him.” - Urban Dictionary
This past weekend my wife and I surprised some of our friends by joining them on a quick ski trip out west to Snowbird, which is known for deep powder and challenging runs. You may ask yourself, why am I reading a marketing blog and we’re talking about skiing, and even more specific - why did I start by referencing the infamous “yard sale” which every skier has experienced at one time or another? Simple—there’s a lot of different elements that lead to a classic “yard sale” and this past weekend I made the foolish mistake of not getting my bindings properly adjusted. As a result, I experienced not just one, but multiple “yard sales” throughout the day (to everyone’s amusement). As I slid down the mountain for the sixth time, it got me thinking that my weekend on the slopes was turning into something I’m used to experiencing in the office.
There are times when the stars have aligned and we have our campaigns humming and we get the false impression that that there’s no reason to readjust or try and new method. The challenge is that things are moving so quickly that even a slight wobble can quickly throw things out of whack. When I look at our martech stack (we’ve invested in some of the top platforms to run our business—Hubspot, Salesforce, Idio, Clearbit, etc.), I’m amazed at how far we’ve come. But just like my experience on the slopes, when we become too complacent and believe there’s no reason to re-evaluate or adjust because of different conditions or circumstances - it catches up to us. The best gear in the world means nothing on the mountain if you haven’t adjusted to the conditions; likewise, all the tech in the world can’t save a complacent marketer.
I should have seen the the big red flag as I tumbled down the mountain on my second run of the day and I slid face-first past most of the folks in my group. I thought to myself that it might be a good time to get my bindings checked out because they just seemed off. But in the moment it was easier to jump back on the aerial tram and keep going. A few runs later I experienced the same thing, and then again. We then stopped at the base lodge where I attempted to adjust my bindings. Feeling confident in my quick fix, I figured I would be good to go for the day—only to end up providing more comic relief for my friends throughout the day as my bindings randomly released again and again.
And here’s the crux of the comparison: just as with skiing, you can do all of the research and have the right equipment, but until you actually get on the slopes and start downhill, you’re never really going to experience everything working in unison. We work with clients every day that are struggling to understand how all of the various platforms fit together. We understand these frustrations because we’ve been tinkering, perfecting, and failing for the past seven years and we continue to reevaluate our martech stack on regular basis. It’s okay to ask for help, whether it’s a CRM or your bindings, and you should take advantage of anyone that can help you along. Having the right tools is only part of the equation. Making sure they’re working and adapting is the rest of the recipe.
And this leads us back to the end of my big “yard sale” day. I finally swallowed my pride and dropped my skis off at the equipment shop to get a professional adjustment. When I picked them up the next morning and hit the slopes, all was well in the world again. It’s a known fact that if you're afraid of falling over, you’ll never be a good skier. In marketing too, you will fall (a lot), but continuing to push through is the only way to keep improving.
Some days, the weather will be perfect and we will have amazing runs on pristine, soft snow. Other days, the icy cold will make us grit our teeth to even manage one run and we wish we hadn't bothered. But we keep going back because we love it, and those amazing days when it all falls into place make it worth it!
-Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn