riding-the-waveEver ride a wave? That may seem like an odd question to ask in a direct marketing blog, but I promise it will make sense soon enough.

On a recent vacation, I found myself gazing into a picturesque sunrise where the ocean and sand seemed to go on forever into the horizon. My computer screen and office chair had been replaced with a beach chair and this amazing view.  A group of surfers came into sight, getting in their day’s fill of waves and bringing back memories of surfers I had known in my youth.

The boys were devout, finding any opportunity to surf – even welcoming hurricanes due to the large waves.  If you looked up the definition of “Surf’s up dude!” in the urban dictionary, you could very well see any one of their pictures. The passion to connect with the ocean as they rode the waves through thick and thin taught me that surfing is a lifestyle, not merely a sport. As I watched the surfers that morning, the marketer in me pondered how we “ride the wave” through our everyday campaign challenges. I also realized how important it is for us to “trust the wave” in our marketing endeavors.

Imagine this.

The ocean is the marketplace; the surfboard is the toolkit we use to execute our strategies, and the surfer is our entire team. While in marketing we’re looking for revenues and not bragging rights like surfers, we share a similar goal.  We’re both trying to navigate successfully through the surf, enjoying the ride and fully aware that falls are inevitable. As seasoned marketers, we know those spills are part of the process so we never let them stop us from riding the marketing wave.

Sure, our end goal is to ride the biggest wave we can find, but we must first choose where and when to surf.  We paddle out in search of the best wave when we utilize our data.  Next, we send our ongoing communications as we hang ten, learning what we can along the way. Then, just as surfers share their experiences with each other to learn how to improve their form, we use tracking from our campaigns to determine what we did well and what we need to change.

We can learn a lot from the resilience and devotion of surfers. They are at peace with wiping out and have the unbridled expectation that the next wave will be bigger and better. The more they paddle out and pop up on their boards, the stronger they get – and we marketers are no different.  We need to paddle into the market with conviction and trust the course of our efforts, secure in the knowledge that the most tubular of waves is out there just waiting for us to take a ride to the other side.