When I was 13 years old, one of my teachers asked me what I liked to read.
"Books about adventure and travel and discovering new places," I told her.
She nodded sagely. That was the end of the conversation.
As a child I was already a bookworm. Since we lived in a very small village, we didn't have a public library. But once a week, the library in the nearest town sent a wooden box of books over to our elementary school.
I was always the first to dig in and see what glories were there for us this time.
When I was old enough to go move up to the school in the next town over, I became a regular at that same library, hauling home as many books as I was allowed to borrow, usually from the adventure section.
Later in life I realized there was depth to my teacher's question. It turned out that the themes of adventure, travel and discovery of new places have permeated my life and given direction to it. I was told that the books you read at that age can give indications of what direction your life will take.
I don't know that that's a scientifically researched fact, but it was true for me. I did end up traveling a lot and living in many different countries. I discovered new places, at first externally and later, when I got on a path of personal and spiritual growth, within myself.
I'm still a bookworm. I deliberately choose not to have a TV and I rarely watch movies. So recently I asked myself: "How does what I like to read now connect with my current life and business?"
It turned out to be an easy question to answer.
My secret hobby: I read TONS of crime novels.
When I want to relax, I pick up a crime novel. I collect about 20 at a time from the public library. When the unread pile is down to 4 or 5, I start to panic.
If I feel myself getting sick, the very first thing I do - before I even call my health care practitioner - is to check whether I have enough crime novels on my shelf to keep me going for several days.
What I love about crime novels is the investigation and curiosity required to solve the murder.
- I want to know what happened. The facts.
- I want to know all the ways the investigators try to solve the puzzle and are stymied.
- I want to know the psychological makeup of perpetrators, victims and investigators.
- I want to watch the ups and downs of their behavior, why it works and sometimes doesn't.
- I want to know what drives each of them to do what they do.
- And at the last minute, when it appears that it's all solved, I love to see how something unexpected happens and the whole case goes in a different surprising direction in order to find the solution that works.
It's very satisfying to me to watch both my thoughts and gut reactions as well as the characters in the book as they move towards getting the desired results.
When I compare reading a murder mystery with marketing, marketing satisfies some of the same impulses in me.
- You NEVER know what will work. Everything is based on making educated guesses.
- It's important to be aware of how people behave.
- Being curious about your potential clients and figuring out, as best you can, why they do what they do, gives insights into how to approach them.
- This may sound contradictory to the point above, but never take it for granted that you know why people do what they do. It's always a best guess.
- You have to grab opportunities as they present themselves.
- What you think will work often doesn't, even though it's worked many times before for many people.
- You may have to change direction unexpectedly to get the results you want.
- Generally people act in predictable ways - it's up to you to figure out how, so you can use that information in planning your marketing strategy.
- You have to be willing to be surprised - pleasantly or not!
- Sometimes you have to follow your instincts, even when logic screams: "You idiot!"
- You can never assume ANYTHING.
What is YOUR secret hobby?
And how does it relate to your business?
Copyright 2015 Maggie Dennison
Call me at 805 965 9173 for a compleientary "Find Your Marketing Path" session. Or go here to email me (please mention that you are interested in the complimentary session) so I can get back to you with some times to chat. I look forward to hearing from you soon!