Lots of jargon
When I first started sailing I had no idea. So I did a course called Start Yachting where they didn't really teach you to sail. They really just taught you what things on the boat were called, and a few very rudimentary concepts. Suddenly I was a much better sailor. When someone yelled at me "PULL ON THAT HALYARD!" I knew what to do, even if it was the wrong one.
When I first started working in advertising I had no idea. I'd cut my teeth in digital agencyland and had been running my own business for seven years. I had to google what "Above the line" meant and what FMCG stood for. So I did a course called Marketing 101. And realised I did know quite a bit about marketing already, I just had different words for things.
Telling people about The Big Trip usually elicits one of two responses; Jealousy or fear. Anyone who has suffered sea-sickness usually goes a bit green too. I don't think I've ever stepped on a yacht and not felt a slight sense of dread myself.
But then lines are cast and out you go. If racing you're too busy to worry. If cruising you're having too much fun. Unless you're sailing with someone who takes unnecessary risks, that fear dissipates quickly and the sheer joy of it takes over.
I've never really been afraid of digital change, but I've seen it in plenty of people's eyes over the years. I do understand the concern around its complexity and the seemingly endless new trends it presents.
I've seen clients get completely turned around in their fear of digital marketing though. I had one client who was very anti about setting up social media accounts, concerned it would open them up for a wide range of criticism. A year later they had an active social media presence, and were coming to me with ideas to push it even further.
The Never ending quest for optimisation
My sailing instructor once said to me; "If you see two boats going in the same direction, at least one of them is racing". There's a million and one variables on a boat that will increase boat speed. Good enough is not good enough when racing and the micro adds up to the win. I've seen really amazing sailors who don't just read wind on the water, but rather two wind shifts ahead as though they can see into the future. It's all about optimising to the best possible outcome.
Digital marketing is no different and there's very few campaigns that can be set-and-forget. Constant tinkering and testing is a must in order to get the most out of your budget to meet your objectives. If you're waiting until the end of a campaign to view your reporting you're way too late. That quest for ongoing improvement and near-perfection is what makes all the difference between the layman and the professional.