If you’re a marketer who has at least peripheral interest in wellness (who doesn’t these days?), I invite you to consider the following hypothesis:
Marketing and wellness might not share much in terms of subject matter, but most of the content that covers marketing and wellness shares an unfortunate trend:
It’s crappy clickbait that offers a supposed path to getting more out of doing less.
I hope we’ve all realized that life doesn’t work that way. But it’s a thought pattern to which we all seem more susceptible at the beginning of a new year when there’s so much pressure to set lofty goals—whether they’re personal or professional—and start the unsustainable march to reach them.
For the third event in our Women Crushing It Wednesday series, we set out to debunk that thought process.
So many of us are laser-focused on our health come January 1, so we filled a panel with four women who’ve built successful careers in the health and wellness industry. They’ve got the subject-matter expertise and the entrepreneurial drive that helped us skip the clichéd stock suggestions and get to the helpful advice.
And for a panel discussion that jumped between two seemingly disparate topics—business and wellness—I was struck by a common thread among it all: Getting back to the basics.
It’s something we’ve been thinking about a lot as Event Farm’s marketing team. We want to reinforce the fundamentals before we start entertaining the superfluous (yet exciting) ideas that might bounce around our marketing meetings.
Getting back to the basics is one of the reasons we’re hosting an event marketing series in the first place. As a company that builds event marketing software, we’re firm believers in the idea that in-person, high-engagement marketing campaigns are essential to any healthy marketing strategy.
Whether you’re here for the wellness, marketing, or productivity advice, here are the highlights from our last WCW event:
Have a long-term plan and take small steps to get there. In other words: Be focused and be patient.
When we’re just getting started with something, we want to move fast and see results ASAP.
Whether it’s related to business or wellness, that’s why everyone’s drawn to the quick-fix fads: The growth hacks, clickbait, and juice cleanses.
But as our panelists told us: “Juice cleanses suck.”
In terms of actual juice cleanses, they might help the number on the scale drop quickly, but that’s not what we should focus on, according to Tiffany Harlan, Founder and CEO of Composition ID.
“You’ll lose weight on a juice cleanse, but it’s going to be muscle weight,” Harlan said. And Harlan would know—her company, Composition ID, offers high-tech screenings that measure body fat mass, lean mass, bone density, and more.
In other words, Harlan helps clients focus on the numbers that actually matter. A drop in the number on the scale can be deceiving. If it’s a drop in muscle instead of fat, it’s actually detrimental to our health.
And the juice cleanse fad has its fair share of analogous counterparts in the world of business. That’s why so many marketers write headlines and subject lines claiming they have the “best” or “ultimate” advice. Everyone is chasing pageviews. Everyone wants higher email open rates. Everyone wants more leads.
But none of those metrics actually tells a story about how marketing is impacting the overall health of a business. Just like a drop in the number on the scale can be deceiving, so too can an increase in the number of page views or leads.
A clickbait headline might attract more viewers, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to stick around once they catch on to the scheme. Page views might be high, but engagement will be low.
At best you’ll have spent time on something that’ll have no impact on your business. At worst, you’ll lose the trust of the audience to which you’re trying to sell.
So whether you’re starting a new fitness plan or business venture, our panelists have the same advice: Plan strategically, and be patient.
Just get started.
Building out a long-term strategy is exciting: You get to spend a lot of time imagining where you want to be.
But transitioning from planning to doing is rough. You might feel accomplished because you put together a thoughtful strategy, but let’s be honest—most people can lay out a plan for themselves. Not everyone follows through. Getting started and grinding it out isn’t fun.
But the alternative is to avoid starting. Not only does this (obviously) make us less productive, but it’s also detrimental to our mental health, according to Michell Stanley, WCW panelist and founder of Moksha Living, a holistic life coaching and therapy studio in Washington, DC.
“When you’re stuck in your head and overthinking, over-planning, doing a lot of strategizing without acting, that’s a symptom of and can contribute to anxiety,” Michelle told us.
“I tell people to manage anxiety by looking at what’s underneath it,” she said. “What’s making you so anxious? Then take action to address it.”
Another of our panelists, Virginia Kinkel, founder and personal trainer at Bodymass Gym, suggested an analogy to help us reshape the way we think about getting started:
"Think about a new workout routine or project the same way you think about brushing your teeth,” she said.
“If you missed one night of brushing, you wouldn’t wait until a Monday or the beginning of a month to brush your teeth again. Why do we do it with anything else?”
In other words: You don’t have to be perfect, but don’t let your one-day slip up turn into a week of avoiding the project that’s staring you in the face.
Don’t give up if the process feels slow or doesn’t offer a linear path to success.
It’ll take a lot of gumption to get going, and once you’re actually doing the thing—whatever it is—you’ll have to keep those energy levels up throughout the process.
This is the hard part, and this is what clickbait articles tell us we can avoid. That’s why we click on those articles. We don’t want to deal with the actual hard work. But sticking to and following through with the plan is 100% necessary if you want to reach your goals.
That doesn’t mean, however, that there isn’t room for readjustment. If you set a workout schedule and realize that you can’t manage fit in a class before work every day? Readjust.
Same goes for a project at work. If you’ve bit off more than you can chew, change the timeline. Use the process to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Doing something that’s worthwhile is going to feel slow, and it’s going to be a learning process. It’s easy to not be patient.
But of our panelists who started their own businesses, they all emphasized the importance of taking things slow and figuring out what works.
“If I had to do it all over again, I’d take the process [of starting a business] slower,” Virginia told us.
“I was jumping haphazardly at everything that came to me—partnerships, marketing, contracts. It kind of distracted us from what our original thought was for Bodymass Gym.”
She had the same advice for building a new workout routine:
“This sounds weird, but don’t immediately jump in 100%. Start small. Take the steps you need to get to the place you want to be.”
You’re probably not going to move as fast as you want. A lot of people take that as their cue to give up.
Don’t do that—be okay with progress being slower but steady. The ability to build sustainable routines is what’ll set you up for long-term success.
If you’ve read to this point in the blog post, you probably haven’t learned anything that you hadn’t heard before. But that’s the point:
We’re so focused on finding newer, faster, better “hacks” that we're distracted from the slower, more grueling and time-tested processes that go into building something successful.
Peter Drucker, a much-admired leadership and management guru, once famously said:
“It’s amazing how many things busy people are doing that never will be missed.”
(And they heyday his career was before the internet.)
Whether you're working toward a personal or professional goal, put your blinders on and start chipping away at the big rocks. Don’t go after the short-term, exciting hit of a meaningless metric just because you want something now. Repeatedly take a series of small steps, because you’ll ultimately find that you've built something big.