Inspired Marketing: Lessons from nature

Ashley IkelerLearn

Morning in nature

I can’t say I know it all. Not even close. But that excites me. It means every day, every conversation, every adventure is an opportunity to learn more than I do right now.

A brisk walk into the office, a strenuous hike through the canyons or a leisurely stroll through the park are all learning opportunities for me. They might not be traditional methods, but they teach me more about the marketing industry and myself then most books could in 5 minutes. Afterall, the earth, with 4.5 billion years of experience under its surface, has more experience and knowledge on getting things done than all of us combined.

The trick? Taking the time to appreciate all that Mother Nature has to teach you.

Lessons I learned from backpacking Utah

Never, ever, ever skip the research step

Girl looking through binoculars

On a recent trip to Utah, I learned this the hard way. We packed, made lists and thought we were completely prepared. Curveball: we weren’t. We assumed we could cook food at all our campsites, only to learn that there was a fire ban across Utah. That meant no real food for our entire seven-day trip. I love Goldfish crackers, but by the seventh day, you start to really hate their smiling faces.

Just a little bit of research could have saved me from my seven-day Goldfish fast, and it could save you from crucial marketing mistakes. A few hours, maybe even minutes depending on the project, helps you understand your audience, develop your answer, discover mistakes and take the time to really think through a project’s goals and objectives before jumping in.

The hardest climbs have the greatest rewards

Couple jumping under rock arch

You know those pictures of couples underneath the iconic Delicate Arch in Utah’s Arches National Park? I was one of those couples and what you don’t see in the pictures is the amount of sweat, aching muscles and gallons of water drank on the up-hill three-mile climb. Don’t judge me until you’ve done it. Those three miles feel like six by the time you make it back to your car, no matter how in shape you claim to be. But, it was one of the best views. There’s nothing like looking out at all those giant canyon rocks and realizing how small you and your problems really are.

I have to remind myself of this from time to time. No matter the creative obstacle, at the end, it’s always well-worth the climb.

There’s beauty in the simple

Colors in rock formation

You don’t have to hike mountains or canyons to see the beauty in nature. Just look out your window. The textures, colors and simple lines are enough to captivate anyone’s attention.

These same principles can be applied to web design. Use colors that compliment your brand, not detract from it. Come to terms with the fact that less is more, and your audience appreciates simplicity over a cluttered design. Appreciate the white space on a page just like you appreciate the blue sky every day.

Your instincts are more often right than wrong. Trust them

Sunrise with rock formations

I distinctly remember this sign guarding an area of pointy cacti. The sign was there to educate on how the quills were used in emergency medical situations as needles to give stitches, etc. Now, in my defense, when you look at these cacti, they don’t look as sharp as you might think. How do I know? Well, I touched it, even though every fiber of my being was telling me that those black-tipped cacti shouldn’t be messed with. The result? A swollen, throbbing finger.

In hindsight, I should’ve followed my instincts. Of course, everything is clearer in hindsight.

As marketers, we become obsessive with word counts, key words, headlines, images, etc. I fall victim to this too. The real question is, why do we become so obsessive? Sure, the industry and Google tell us we should be, but why not trust our instincts? We all know not to keyword stuff and that our audience doesn’t want to read an article that rambles on. So, trust your gut and write content to get a point across, not to meet some industry set word and keyword quota.

After all, rules are meant to be broken…unless it’s a sign about a cactus. Listen to those signs.

Adapt to your surroundings

Camping under the stars

Our travels started in Estes Park, CO, where it was 45 degrees and made our way to Arches National Park in Utah where it was 85 degrees. Our third stop was Bryce Canyon where it got down to 32 degrees at night.

Each of these places had different landscapes and weather patterns and we had to adapt to them all. Whether it was wearing more layers, putting our tent in shaded area to avoid the heat or wearing sunscreen to lessen the burn. We had to be flexible and adapt to our surroundings.

Same goes for every part of marketing. In our jobs, our tasks and goals change, sometimes, hour to hour and we can’t throw tantrums every time it happens. We have to learn to be versatile and adapt to our ever-changing environments.

Similar to how the geese fly south for the winter, as marketers, we have to change our course as goals and objectives change.

Feel like you still have a lot to learn about the marketing world? You’re in luck. It’s kind of our thing. Let us help.