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Five workout lessons that you can use to improve your marketing fitness.

I go to the gym (a “health and fitness club”) about five times per week, so I usually notice changes to the facility or environment. Last Saturday was the official start of the start of a 60-day challenge event. Where there are normally just a handful of members slogging it out on the machines, the place was packed with a fresh set of new faces. It was the same on Sunday and Monday, confirming my scientific theory.

While riding the exercise bike, I started thinking about the similarities between a gym membership and a successful marketing program. Both require effort to get into “shape.” Both require some sort of investment. And, some say, both are also painful. But if you can keep up the level of activity, both will pay off big dividends. After 45 minutes on the bike, I wrote down these five gym-is-like-marketing analogies:

  1. Goals and metrics are critical. You need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish and then measure progress toward those goals. Website traffic and phone calls are great short-term measures of future marketing success, just like incremental resistance settings are an indication of momentum toward fitness improvement.
  2. You must do something to see results. Any fitness or marketing program takes active and ongoing participation. Showing up for a week might make you feel better at the moment, but it won’t help much in the long run. You need to make a long-term commitment.
  3. There are no magic short cuts. Whether you are trying to drop 20 lbs. or improve revenue 20%, you have to take one step at a time. Attempting to trick the (or your) system won’t work, and may actually cause harm.
  4. Maintenance gets easier over time. It takes time to see results, but as you maintain your fitness or marketing regiment you will continue to see results improvements as the routine becomes easier to follow. Even skipping a little time won’t kill you, as you can go back to your routine and quickly catch up.
  5. Sometimes you need a trainer. I enjoy going to the gym on my own. Others need some help operating the machinery, learning the right moves (Zumba?), or just showing up. It’s great if you can manage on your own, but there are experts available if you need assistance.

Goals and metrics are critical to marketing success

Set some realistic goals, establish metrics, build a plan, and make the long-term commitment to maintaining an effective 2013 marketing program. You’ll feel better and like the results.

Since this article was first published, I’ve received a lot of feedback and some additional gym-marketing analogies. Here are a few of the best. Thank you, and please keep your ideas coming!

  • You won’t get fit by just writing a check. That only burns 5 calories.
  • Don’t expect perfection overnight. You may not even notice the results at first. Stick with it.
  • Change it up. “Keep your body guessing” as you continually enhance current activities and try new things.
  • Beware of contracts. Why does the gym (or vendor) need to lock you in? Positive results should make you want to stay, not a piece of paper. .

If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.SM

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