Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Marketing Lessons from China….

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I had the opportunity to go to Beijing to teach a class on Digital and Social Marketing.

I took it, not just because I am passionate about the topic and wanted to see modern China though.

The reason I elected to go (going for 3 days in total is not that glamorous, btw) is because it forced me out of my comfort zone.

It’s (relatively) easy for me to talk about marketing to a US audience. The slang, the jokes, the ideas…the come naturally.

Going to China and immersing myself in a foreign culture meant that I had to think…REALLY THINK about how effectively I was communicating.

I had to be aware of cultural sensitivities. I had to think and ask-rather than assume-what the motivations, aspirations, and interests of my audience was.

Now, of course, this is just marketing best practice. We should always do it.

But, sometimes we forget. Sometimes we don’t.

There’s a reason why Steven Covey tells us in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that Habit #7 is “Sharpen the Saw.”

It’s because that’s precisely what we have to do.

Was I scared that my message and presentation would flop?

You betcha.

But, it’s about overcoming that fear and saying “I’m going to do it anyway because the primary objective here is ‘forcing the change.’”

It’s like saying, “I’m going to take the toughest course possible and even if I get a B or a C instead of an A, it’s going to be worth it in the end.”

The Takeaway:

Find (relatively) low-risk opportunities-on a regular basis- that make you feel uncomfortable and will force you to “get back to basics” in whatever your field. You may not enjoy the actual experience (although I did), but your long-term performance is worth it.

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