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Is it Worth the Trouble? | #MyFridayStory No. 161

Is it Worth the Trouble? | #MyFridayStory No. 161

You will rarely catch me watching TV, reading fiction, or chewing bubble-gum.

They don’t seem worth the trouble.

Most things in life that need effort are worth the trouble. I enjoy reading, learning, and writing about an array of topics that interest me. In my last two years of high school, I learned to love to learn. At the time, my older brother by 11 years was in his ninth year at university. He’d already graduated with two degrees and was busy with his third. Not soft subjects – Ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Theology.

From a young age, he mastered the skill of learning. He learned to remember large tracts of information verbatim, with a glance. This enabled him to read fast while retaining and understanding what he has read. He used this technique to great effect, even make boring subjects “his own.”

The first 3 years of high school, my math’s, science, and English grades were shocking. My brother was married and out of the house and invited me to come to stay with him and his wife so that he could help me. He taught me various methods to make learning not only memorable but fun too. Anyone who can make math’s, science, and English ‘fun’ must be onto something!

My brother taught me to learn to love to learn.

I have never stopped learning and loving to learn. After my two-tears of National Service, I went on to study civil engineering. In high school, a 3-day aptitude test revealed civil engineering to be my ideal career.

The test was wrong.

Although I enjoyed learning, I hated the job. After 3 years I quit and joined a friend to open a bakery.

A few years later, I completed an entry-level, one-year marketing certificate. I still have the original textbook, Fundamentals of Marketing by William J. Stanton and Charles Futrell (1987) We worked through the entire textbook cover-to-cover over the year. The class was divided into about 12 syndicate groups, each consisting of 4 or 5 members. At the end of each quarter, we handed in a syndicate assignment based on the content we covered. At the end of the year, an individual assignment was the culmination of the certificate.

The final individual assignment accounted for 60% of your year mark, the four syndicate assignments making up the balance. We received our individual assignment at the beginning of the year, together with our study guides and textbook. We were expected to work on the assignment throughout the year. The final individual marketing assignment was to develop a complete marketing strategy for your chosen organisation. I was working for a leading brand of performance exhausts which I used as my business case.

Our lectures and assignments throughout the year followed the order of the textbook. Each quarter built on the last, the methods, principles and building blocks so familiar to marketing students all coming together. Throughout the year, the importance and gravitas of a robust marketing strategy were impressed on us students. We were indoctrinated to believe there is no other way of executing any marketing initiatives to a company besides through a well-constructed marketing strategy.

As a marketer over the past 30 years, this has been my largest challenge with business leaders.

A recent poll revealed 62% of businesses operate without any form of marketing strategy. Worse than that, a further 3% admitted to having one and not using it. I believe the latter figure to be highly under-reported for fear of embarrassment. I know many business owners that conducted expensive two or three-day marketing strategy workshops only to find the beautifully bound and printed document in their bottom drawer a month or two later.

A marketing strategy, like any well-thought-out plan, will guide your actions and your budget. If you haven’t developed one for your company yet, I guarantee it is worth the trouble.

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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