I am not the best marketer in the world. Not by a long shot.
This is no attempt humility, this is the honest truth. I'm constantly turning to things like creativity and careful study of others' marketing to guide and shape my own in an attempt to keep up with everyone else who often feel miles ahead of my own efforts.
But there's one thing I turn to more than anything else, and it's also the most effective of the bunch: Thinking.
The Forgotten Skill
I really do think this is a skill. A combination of learning to clear your mind and putting yourself in situations to do so, thinking is a lost art.
Some of my best ideas, this blog included, have come during quiet, solo drives or walks with nothing but the thoughts between my ears to keep me company.
I think a lot. I try to keep my mind as clear as possible, and it's that clarity that helps me see enough new ideas in the world around me to write the 1,300+ posts I've published here, and also satisfy my own needs on the Inntopia / day job side. With that intro, I want to share a quick example.
We read a lot of books in our family. The vast majority are children's books. And by majority I mean about 99%.
But children's books are a perfect situation to enter with a clear, thoughtful mind because these 30-page stories are the epitome of clear, consise, visual, entertaining messages that, more often than not, are carefully crafted to appeal just as much to the adult as they do to the child.
Not a bad goal to mimic, eh?
One such book is my mother's favorite: When I Was Young in the Mountains, by Cynthia Rylant.
The story is a simple tale of a brother and sister who are living with their grandparents in the mountains. Her grandfather works in a coal mine, her grandmother manages the garden and home. During this particular summer, they enjoy the simple pleasures often only available in the mountains.
• The sound of animals.
• Sitting on a quiet porch in the evening.
• Exploring nature.
• Close-knit communities.
The last page of the book closes with this message written in the voice of the young girl who acts as narrator.
That phrase at the end is the one that, when I read in a thoughtful mood, stands out: “…for I was in the mountains, and that was always enough.”
Here is a girl who, faced with adventurous alternatives of oceans and deserts or world travel, knows that the place she'll be the happiest is in the mountains.
I don't know if this message fits anyone's marketing goals, but I've always found the core of that statement, “The mountains are always enough,” to be one of the most succinct, powerful, and true statements I've ever read about my relationship with the mountains.
It could easily be the foundation of an entire marketing campaign for an entire resort given the right goals and products. And it came from a children's book I read with a clear mind.
Food for thought.