Business Lessons from the London Marathon


On April 23rd this year, 40,000 competitors descended onto the streets of the capital to compete in the world-renowned London Marathon; taking on a 26.2-mile route. And while I could spend all day musing over the specifics of how amazing and impressive it is, which it is, for the purpose of this blog I’m going to use the London Marathon as a metaphor for a business marketing strategy module (just in case you couldn’t work it out).

Got it? Okay, cool, let’s get started.

Preparing for the London Marathon

When it comes to running the London Marathon, how much preparation do you think is needed before the event? Whatever you’re thinking, double it, and then probably double it again.

Serious training starts roughly two years before the event, and that doesn’t just include increasing the length of runs; runners have to consider the frequency of their training, the time of day, the route and even a change of diet to provide the necessary fuel. Essentially, it takes two years of careful, diligent tweaking to find the perfect routine before even considering undertaking the London Marathon.

The same can be said of any business marketing strategy; the first attempt is unlikely to be the perfect fit, constant consideration of personal needs over common practise is vital, unwavering endurance and faith in your decisions are essential. If your new strategy doesn’t immediately convert, don’t give up, start A/B testing and find out what does work for your business!

Start Slow

Runners are always advised against starting the race with too much gusto, you don’t want to be exploding out of the starting block to find yourself struggling for breath midway. The best way to tackle the London Marathon is by starting slow and setting an achievable pace, to ensure they’re capable of reaching the finish line.

While getting started with a new marketing strategy is an exciting time for any business, ploughing energy, time and resources solely into execution when the plan-of-action is still green, could be detrimental; especially for local businesses that have a smaller budget.

So; start slow, try, test, tweak, and then pick up the pace and increase your budget around particulars that worked well.

Stay Hydrated and Refuel

Humans can survive weeks without food, but only days without water – and when it comes to taking on a challenge like the London Marathon – hydration and refuelling is vital. For runners tackling the London Marathon, part of their strategy is factoring in at which points along the route to pick up water and eat energy bars, even if it means slowing them down momentarily.

When a marketing strategy is moving along nicely, it can seem illogical to make changes, especially if it means detouring or slowing down the momentum. However, just like the London Marathon, your strategy will need to remain hydrated and to be refuelled regularly. For instance, a one-off payment will run dry very quickly, but a smaller monthly injection of funds is likely to get your business further in the long run. It’s a good idea to decide at the beginning when to make interval assessments, monthly or quarterly make good points!

For us, creating a marketing strategy isn’t nearly as difficult as running the London Marathon, so if you’re not sure, we’d be delighted to help! Call us on 01702 619139.

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