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Continuing with the Olympics theme… we watched Eddie the Eagle on the weekend.

Now, I know I said in my last post that I am not a sporty person or fan, but I LOVE a good sports film or bio-pic. It’s the journey and struggle that inspires me. And Eddie the Eagle was no exception.

It also connected a few dots in my mind about some topics I’ve been thinking about recently related to marketing strategy for businesses:

  • know your purpose
  • focus your efforts

For those who don’t know Eddie the Eagle, it is the nickname of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, a British skier and ski jumper, who in 1988, became the first competitor since 1929 to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping. Read more about Eddie on Wikipedia.

Now I am basing my knowledge of Eddie and his story on the film, so there may be some discrepancies to his real life, but it works for the purpose of this post.

The abridged version:

From a very young age, Eddie’s goal was to compete in the Olympics.

Notice I say “goal” and not “dream”.

There is an important difference.

Eddie didn’t just sit around wishing he could be an Olympic athlete, he was active in his endeavours to find a sport that would allow him to achieve his goal, and he explored many.

As a teenager, he came across skiing, and pursued it at his local ski club, doing relatively well. But not well enough to be accepted to the British Olympic ski team.

Not to be deterred, he continued his quest, and through research discovered that there was no British Olympic ski jumping team, and the last time Britain had competed in the Olympic ski jumping was 1929, and the British ski jumping record was only about 20m, so to qualify, all he had to do was jump further than that (keep in mind that other ski jumpers were clearing around 100m).

SPOILER ALERT!

I won’t go into full details, but long story short, he qualifies, goes to the Olympics, comes last overall, but beats the current British record.

Now coming last might not seem like something to celebrate or take business direction from, but we need to put it in perspective.

Yes, he was last IN THE WORLD. But he was the best IN BRITAIN. And the sole member of the British Olympic ski jumping team. And the crowd LOVED HIM!

So what can we learn about business and marketing from Eddie the Eagle?

Have a clear goal, and know your purpose

Drill down to what your ultimate goal is. Make it as simple and finite as possible.

Eddie’s goal wasn’t to break the British Olympic ski jumping record, or even to be a ski jumper!

It was to compete in the Olympics. And he did.

Pivot

If you aren’t achieving the success you desire. Pivot.

It’s a bit of a buzzword, and common in the technology industry.

I love it because if something isn’t working, you don’t need to go right back to the drawing board. Just look at what IS working, or COULD be working better, and forge a new direction based on that.

That’s what Eddie did. He enjoyed and was relatively good at skiing. Transferring this to ski jumping required new skills, but it wasn’t a drastic leap (*pun intended*).

Discover gaps in the market, and identify new opportunities

It can be really tempting to do what everyone else is doing, but that also means you’ll have a lot more competition.

Research areas that are less crowded, more unique, that you can establish yourself and grow.

Niche, niche, niche!

These gaps in the market and new opportunities then allow you to do one of my new favourite things: niche!

Again, the focus here is to purposely try NOT to appeal to a huge audience, but a smaller, more dedicated audience who WILL be interested in and care about what you are doing, saying and selling (if that’s your bag).

Focus your efforts

Once you have your goal and have identified your opportunity to achieve it, FOCUS EVERYTHING ON IT!

Do not get distracted by new bright shiny things that come along.

Don’t ignore them, but put them to the test: “Will {this bright shiny thing} help me achieve my goal?”

If no: keep going.

If yes, or maybe: explore further.

Raise the bar

This might not seem relevant for a guy who came last, but remember, he broke the British record!

Even if you are the only person in your niche, you can still strive to be the best!

Especially as while you may be alone, to begin with, there will be others, so don’t get complacent. Set the bar high (or jump far) and keep pushing it.

Love what you do

I don’t agree with that “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” statement, as I DO love what I do, but sometimes it is hard and feels like work. But loving it definitely makes it easier to keep at. Especially when things are tough, or you crash and hurt yourself and need to get back up that slope and jump again.

What I love about Eddie the Eagle is that he didn’t just find a sport that no other Britain was competing in, he also loved it. And that not only kept him going, but got the crowd behind him when they saw his enthusiasm and passion.

Celebrate your success

Yes, there are industry targets, but you also need to set your own targets and measures, and celebrate when you achieve them!

Then set another, and work towards achieving that.

And another.

And if you don’t want to, or can’t, go back to the start, and set a new goal…

You CAN do it!

Feature image via Flickr. It has been cropped to suit this feature header area, and the homepage slider. View the license here.

Erica Stacey

Erica is a Google Analytics and Google Ads certified professional, so you’re in qualified hands. Erica has had over a decade of experience – working for agencies and a wide range of clients – in digital and social media marketing strategy, website development, search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing (SEM), content marketing, inbound marketing, online advertising and so much more. A professional in the field of design, branding and marketing, she is a trusted name in the South Australian and online community to help an array of businesses sort out and achieve their marketing objectives.

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