Most people know Tough Mudder: The world’s toughest obstacle race course. (Although now they have changed it to “probably the toughest” with the influx of obstacle courses entering its marketplace). Well, lil-old me, she who was once known as scaredy-cat-of-the-world, did it and completed it on Saturday (19 February) at Phillip Island Victoria.
It was an amazing personal achievement for me, one that has left me with many lessons to apply to both my personal and business lives. But reflecting on the day in hindsight has me captivated by the brand’s success and the lessons businesses can learn from the worldwide phenomena that is Tough Mudder.
1. Clear marketing objectives
The Tough Mudder “pledge” (for want of calling it a vision statement) is plastered everywhere: their website, social media, at online registration and and on the day – where we had to kneel on one knee, raise our right hand and repeat as a chorus before we started the race.
Did everyone abide by the pledge? Absolutely!
Lesson #1: Having a clear marketing message ensures that everyone, from your employees to your clients, are all on the same page regarding expectations. Putting your values in writing and repeating the message across all your media is key to your business’ marketing success.
2. Training & Preparation
While Tough Mudder has been designed to be accessible for most people to participate (unlike some of its competition), it still requires months of preparation in training to be able to complete 21kms intermixed with obstacles that require strength and agility.
What many forget (or don’t have patience to witness) is the preparation time can provide some of your most amazing “a-ha” moments that challenge your thinking and beliefs.
Lesson #2: How can you expect quick results from your marketing when so few things of substance in life can be achieved in a short timeframe? And let’s take that a step further: Have you spent time thinking and reflecting on business to write a marketing plan with an action plan of strategies?
3. Building a tribe
To tell people you’ve signed up and are training for Tough Mudder and then to become a Tough Mudder results in one of two responses: Admiration (from those who haven’t done it) or Acceptance (from those who have). Either way, there is public acknowledgement of the tribe you have joined and what it takes to try and enter the club.
Lesson #3: How can you build a tribe mentality with your customers? What does your business do that can connect the marketplace in a common goal or achievement? Don’t overthink this, it may be as simple as lesson #1, your set of (differentiating) business values.
4. A reward you can’t buy
One of the proudest possessions I now own is an orange headband! And I’m truly not sure if I’d be more disappointed if I lost that or my new smartphone. What’s it worth? Probably a few cents, but it’s priceless to me as there is only one way you can own it, by crossing the Tough Mudder finishing line.
Lesson #4: Too often businesses believe that rewarding their customers cannot be cost effective. Put yourself into the shoes of your ideal customer and think what “reward” would make “you” feel special. Often it’s not monetary, but acknowledgement.
5. Brand advocates
What every business wants and should endeavour to get is “brand advocates”. These are the clients that love your business and brand so much that they want to tell everyone about you. Needless to say, in this digital and social media age, this can equate to customers sharing your marketing messages for you, without any expectation in return.
Tough Mudder Inc have this sorted. Beyond “wear orange headband to work day” (more a verbal acknowledgement that it’s ok to brag to your peers for one day) they send you image badges to share on your social media walls, videos & photos to share, etc. The participants’ bragging rights are unashamed plugs for their business.
Lesson #5: So has this Tough Mudder shouted from the roof tops that she owns a cheap orange headband? Of course I have and proudly so. Hang on, what am I doing now…