It’s the time of year when I’m preparing the annual sojourn to Salt Lake City to gather with my fellow digital marketers at the Omniture Summit, and it makes me a bit nostalgic. No, not because I grew up in Utah, or because I miss the cold mountain air (as a former Montana-resident-turned-Florida resident, nothing could be further from my mind), but for my navy days. Years ago, when I was just out of high school, I joined the navy and the first boat I served on was USS SALT LAKE CITY (SSN-716). It’s tough to make a visit to SLC without thinking about these days.
I remember being a scrawny high school kid, band geek, 97 lbs, and hearing over and over that I would never make it through boot camp. By the time I got there, I actually started to believe it myself. But, nine weeks later, I had finished all the trials, gained 25 lbs, and was marching with the rest of my class in the pass-in-review ceremony. I had done it, and (to borrow a popular phrase from that year) thought I was the king of the world.
What does being in boot camp have to do with online marketing?
Well, let me say that when you first get to boot camp, your mind does wander to thoughts of quitting and getting back home to a comfortable life where all you really had to worry about was next Friday’s math test. However, you can’t just quit when you get to boot camp; no, they make you persevere. And by the time it’s done, you’re very glad you stuck through the tough times and accomplished something remarkable.
I think that my experience at boot camp can be a lot like the experience we marketers go through when starting to test online, except it’s MUCH easier to quit testing than it is boot camp. There is a large temptation to think that it will just be too much work – first figuring out what to test, designing alternative creative, selecting a testing tool, getting your boss to sign off, then moving mountains to get the IT work prioritized. It’s easy for a marketer to just stick to the status quo and quit the fight before it’s even begun. Read more…