September 4, 2012


Back to School/MarketingSchools re-open today. Do you remember your lessons from years past? Not what you learned but how you learned. Those old lessons can help with your marketing now.

The Process

To succeed in school, you need to plan ahead. That means knowing basics such as  exam dates and when projects are due. To remember, you also need to make a schedule. A combination of a Google calendar and a To Do list works well for me. You also need to stay on schedule. It's very easy to fall behind or (re-)establish bad habits.

Having a support group like a mastermind works well (here are lessons from three).


We're not done yet. You need to learn. That means to
  • be open to learning
  • study (sorry!)
  • share what you learn
Green Eggs and HamIf you're not motivated to learn, you won't. At least not very well.

You're not learning unless you're stretching yourself either. You may have loved Green Eggs and Ham. Maybe Dr. Seuss did too. He didn't stop there. His final book, Oh, the Places You'll Go! shows a definite evolution and also reaches a different audience than One Fish, Two Fish.

You don't really learn until you share what you’re learning. Blogging is one way, even if your readership starts small.

No Excuses

We were forced to attend school. If you aren't interested, too bad. If you don't have time for an assignment, too bad. If you're confused and falling behind, too bad. You may have more leeway today but that’s hardly permission to make excuses or procrastinate.


In school, our grades show our progress. In business, the marketplace grades us. We may think we're doing well because we don't get a regular report card. Are we fooling ourselves?

To get feedback earlier, show your progress. Seth Godin is doing this on Kickstarter for The Icarus Deception, his new book. He’s already posted 14 updates. Your market may find your process more fascinating than the results (though make them great too). It’s easy to communicate via Twitter and blog posts.


In school, we're told how many subjects to take. In business, we're already busy. We need projects or sub-projects we can complete in a reasonable timeframe. You might find that three months is just right — not too long, not too short. Maybe you plan by calendar quarter or season.

What's the right subject to tackle?

You might want to work on your strengths for mastery or on a weakness for outsized results. For example, I learned the basics of video editing this year (see YouTube). The results aren't amazing but they are a huge step for me. I'd like to get better but progress will be slower and take more effort. For hands-on experience, I volunteered to work on community television.


How do you learn? Where do you go for help? You may like having a teacher or tutor. You may prefer learning on your own since there's so much available online and in books. If you're stumped, you can think, procrastinate or get help. Just like in school.


PS Your first assignment is to figure out what you want to do. Class dismissed!

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