As I was on my vacation skiing in Colorado, I rode to the top of one of the peaks to ski above the tree line. Conditions were not great – it had started to snow and the clouds were lowering as the wind came up. Approaching the top of the lift it was clear – I was in a whiteout. As they say on the mountain, the only way out is down, so down I went. I was experiencing a little vertigo, which is usually just an annoyance. But on this day, in a whiteout, on a steep slope I completely lost my bearings. For a minute or two, I didn’t know up from down and I was turning but it wasn’t slowing me down. I lost my balance and fell, laughing, because now I at least knew where down was. I picked myself up and made my way down to the tree line and better visibility.
Why am I telling this personal story? Because it is really much like marketing. I thought about this on the mountain. In marketing, you often can’t see the next thing coming. It might be a new channel, strategy, technology or approach. Or a recession that changes everything. It’s a little like being on a mountain whiteout where you have to trust your skills to get you through. Think about it this way: You’re good at marketing, you have great experience and if you go after understanding what’s new, and develop new skills around it, it enhances your skillsets for future opportunities.
This brings me back to the whiteout. I’ve been skiing my whole life and the worst thing you can do is ski scared. So I pointed my skis down and trusted my skills. Sure I fell, but it was controlled. In marketing you’re going to fall. Something will happen to make things seemingly impossible – at d.trio, our expertise in the financial services and direct marketing industries was decimated by the recession. That was our first whiteout – our turning point to give up or point in what we thought was the right direction, use our skills and figure it out.
In my mind, giving up isn’t an option. Swallow your fear and take steps toward figuring things out. DO something.
So that’s what we did. We looked at how to take our skillsets, knowledge and technical know-how and expand into new industries, channels and technologies and reinvented d.trio to the agency it is today. As for the whiteout, I skied out of it into the trees below and had the most exhilarating run of my day. That’s the way I feel about d.trio today – more excited than ever that I get to do this every day…when I’m not skiing, of course.