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From the Trenches

3 Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From the Stress of Thanksgiving

Right Source | November 16, 2018
Marketing Lessons from Thanksgiving Stress

Ideally, your Thanksgiving dinner is full of lovingly prepared food, close family, and good conversation. But it doesn’t always turn out that way. For many people, it can be a stressful ordeal that is anything but picture-perfect.

According to one psychiatrist, 64 percent of people say their mental health stress level increases exponentially around this time of year. Between preparing an elaborate meal of approximately 18 dishes (which, by some miracle, are all supposed to come out of the oven at the same time) and dealing with relatives’ opinions and questions at the dinner table, it’s not surprising.

But here’s something to be thankful for: The challenges associated with Thanksgiving dinner can provide some insight into how to solve some of your marketing challenges, as well.

Here are some similarities between a few Thanksgiving and marketing challenges — and how one single, brilliant solution can often solve both issues.


Thanksgiving Challenge #1: Explain your job to your curious, but somewhat clueless, relatives

Marketing Challenge: Justify marketing efforts and resources to your curious, but not always marketing-minded leadership team.

Solution: Speak their language. If you’re a marketing technology guru, you can’t just start spouting off jargon like “smart lists” and “personalization tokens” at the Thanksgiving table and assume that Great Aunt Cindy has any idea what you’re talking about. It just won’t connect. You have to explain your job in terms she can relate to — like that you help the right emails go to the right people at the right time. Simple, but effective.

In the same way, when you’re justifying the cost of your marketing efforts to your leadership team, you have to speak their language. That means instead of talking about the nitty-gritty details of the social media campaign you want to launch or the cool features of a marketing automation tool, you should speak to how your efforts will produce tangible benefits like qualified leads and ROI — how your efforts will affect the business. That’s what executives will connect with — which will help you make the strongest case possible.


Thanksgiving Challenge #2: Make an 18-course meal without running out of time or oven space

Marketing Challenge: Launch an 18-component marketing campaign without running out of time or resources.

Solution: Assuming there’s nothing you’re willing to cut out of your 18-course meal or marketing campaign, there are two primary approaches to this solution. First, involve more people. Just like you could ask your relatives and friends to each bring a dish to Thanksgiving dinner, you need to get other people to pitch in to execute on your marketing strategy. Don’t rely on just yourself or your two-person marketing team to get things done. If you need help writing great content, hire a freelancer. If you need strategy help, explore hiring an agency that can help you think big-picture. If you need access to customer and prospect insights, get your sales team on board. Spreading out responsibilities is key to getting everything out the door (or onto the table) successfully and on time.

Second, create a detailed timeline that gets you to your end goal on time. Similar to a schedule that outlines which dish needs to go into the oven at what time to produce a uniformly hot meal at dinner time, you need to plan who’s going to get what tasks done and by when to launch the campaign on time. That will ensure that everything gets done in a timely manner and help you avoid mistakes associated with a last-minute rush.


Thanksgiving Challenge #3: Encourage your family of picky eaters to try your new, non-traditional recipes

Marketing Challenge: Encourage others on your team and within your company to try new, innovative marketing tactics.

Solution: For many people, Thanksgiving dinner is steeped in tradition — you cook the same recipes that you’ve cooked for years (that your grandparents and their grandparents cooked for years). And the same often happens in marketing — you rely on the same tactics you always have. So, it’s not uncommon to get a little pushback if you try to do something new, whether it’s deep-frying your turkey or launching an out-of-the-box marketing campaign.

How can you get everyone on board with your new way of thinking? Well, the proof is in the pudding. Just like you could show your family the hundreds of rave reviews on the recipe webpage, you can show your marketing team examples of similar, successful campaigns from other companies. Providing data that backs up your idea is critical to convincing your team (or family) that your unconventional idea will be worth it in the end.

And then, once you’ve executed your idea, you can let your results speak for themselves. When your turkey recipe exceeds everyone’s expectations and your marketing efforts deliver reportable successes, no one will be able to dispute your fresh, new ideas. And that will give you the credibility you need to try even more innovative ideas in the future.

Thanksgiving dinner may bring some drama — but with the right perspective, you can solve your holiday challenges and marketing challenges simultaneously. And that is certainly something to be thankful for.

To dive deeper into solving these common challenges — from budgeting to reporting — download our eBook, “Build Your Content Marketing Plan: A 10-Step Guide.”

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About Right Source:

The Marketing Trenches blog provides thought leadership from actual marketing practitioners, not from professional thought leaders. Designed to help business leaders make more educated marketing decisions, our insights come directly from our experience in the trenches. You can find more from Right Source on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn.