Their goal was to be the first person to reach the South Pole.
While both eventually succeeded in reaching the South Pole, the two explorers experienced wildly different outcomes on their return journeys back to the safety of base camp.
The first, Roald Amundson, a Norwegian explorer, succeeded.
The second, Robert Falcon Scott, a British Naval Officer, died tragically along with five other members of his team.
Both men were equally capable. Equally equipped. And equally experienced.
On paper they each had an even chance to accomplish their goals, and survive.
So what happened?
Why did one succeed and the other fail?
And more importantly, what does this have to do with marketing, making more sales, and growing a business?
The answer to these questions, and the secret to our explorers success and failure, can be found in not just one, but three equally important elements:
So let me show you why these factors are so incredibly important to your business and marketing success, starting with strategy.
Strategy is one of the most important elements of success.
It is also one of the least used, and least understood parts of marketing.
So what exactly is a strategy anyway?
Well, a strategy is really nothing more than a plan. It typically involves setting some kind of goal or objective, then working backwards to figure out the steps and actions required to achieve that goal.
Strategy is not the specific set of actions, steps, or tactics that will be used. Those are just parts of the strategy (…and I’ll cover them in just a minute).
Strategy is the big picture stuff. The what you want to achieve and the high level overview of how you’re going to achieve it.
For our South Pole explorers they each had different strategies. Amundson (who succeeded and survived) and Scott (who failed and perished).
First, they both made strategic decisions when they chose to use different equipment.
Amundson chose skis and dog sleds which he was familiar with, and they ended up working well.
Scott on the other hand, chose dogs, ponies, motor-sledges, and skis. The ponies didn’t work well and one of the motor-sledges fell in the water.
Next, they mad strategic decisions in regards to supplies.
Both had ration depots along the way with food and fuel.
Amundson took time to ensure his depots were properly marked and his food and fuel were stored properly. But Scott missed some of his depots and had to waste hours searching for them. He also miscalculated his fuel supply which was obviously pretty important to keep warm when you’re trekking to the South Pole.
Their planned routes were also slightly different.
Scott choosing a path he was familiar with but that was more dangerous and at a higher altitude, while Amundson opted for a shorter route.
Weather plays another important part which admittedly is out of anyone’s control.
However, Amundson planned on leaving and arriving earlier. Scott, planned on later, which meant he had to return during the colder months of February and March.
The point is, all of these factors and decisions make up their overall strategy and plan.
It’s clearly important, but the sequence they followed to execute their strategy was just as important in determining their success or failure.
So let’s talk about sequence next.
In any given situation there are a number of things that need to be done in order to accomplish the goal.
If we look at a marketing campaign for example the first thing you need to do is determine what exactly it is that you’re trying to promote.
This sounds pretty straightforward but making sure you have the right offer in place as well as a good follow up system and marketing funnel can make or break your campaign before it even gets off the ground.
From there, you need to determine what market segment to target.
This usually means creating a buyer persona, ideal customer avatar, or target market profile (three different terms that all mean pretty much the same thing).
Then, it’s time to figure out the message.
The specifics around the offer and messaging that will allow you to clearly communicate the value that you’re offering and why someone should care enough to take action.
- Why should they care?
- What will it do for them?
- Why this?
- Why now?
Then, it’s time to figure out where your target market is present and active online, and offline, and go there, and only there.
But simply knowing the steps isn’t enough. You need to know the right order and sequence they go in.
This is how truly effective and profitable marketing campaigns are built.
By creating a strategy and sequence that meets your clients and customers where they are, takes them by the hand, and then guides them to where they want to go.
In the case of our explorers, how their strategies played out is a matter of the sequence they followed, a series of sub-steps and tasks they needed to accomplish along the way, and the specifics surrounding each phase of their journey.
For example, both had a strategy to place depots to restock supplies along their path. But only Amundson ensured they were as easy to find as possible and well stocked with sufficient supplies.
There’s still one more piece here though that can make all the difference between success and failure. And that is the secret of stacking.
One of the most powerful forces in the world of business is momentum.
The art of getting something moving, and keeping it moving.
Momentum and consistency is how both large and small business empires are built.
- Little by little.
- Brick by brick.
- Consistently moving forward.
- Growing. Serving. Leading. Learning.
Stacking one action, one asset, one win on top of another.
Constantly improving and optimizing things along the way.
And the results of stacking things like this aren’t linear, they’re exponential.
With future wins being compounded at a much faster rate thanks to being built on a solid foundation and history of success.
Now sometimes there are market catalysts that can trigger a sudden and unexpected growth spurt for a business. These could be a new opportunity, the loss or exit of a competitor, or Some kind of innovation.
But sadly, more often than not, these sudden increases in demand, sales, or team size lead to the company’s downfall.
It’s not that growth isn’t good, it’s that they’re unprepared for them.
Either in their supply, infrastructure, or ability to deliver on what they’ve just promised to sell.
This is why slowing down to speed up later is one of the most valuable and equally hard things to do for any business.
To consciously hold back, even just a little, to protect the business as a whole.
And to prioritize consistency above all else.
It’s not fancy. But it works.
For example, a daily commitment to creating content marketing for your business can mean the launch of a new blog, podcast, YouTube channel, social media presence, or newsletter all in as little as 30-minutes a day.
But it needs to be every day. Not three hours this week and zero the next, because when that happens you lose your momentum and starting something from start is ten times harder than simply keeping something going. Daily consistent action is the key.
Throughout their journey both Amundson and Scott took two very different approaches to making progress. Amundson stuck to a strict schedule and prioritized resting up to 16 hours each and every single day in order to ensure a healthy team.
This meant never going too far or pushing too hard when things were good.
Holding back a little when the weather was good and the team was feeling healthy.
But it also meant still suiting up and braving the elements when the bad weather hit.
Scott let the weather and outside forces influence his actions which meant pushing far too hard and driving his team to exhaustion on good weather days.
Trying to do too much, too soon.
And then staying out of the elements and complaining about the weather on bad weather days.
Unsurprisingly, the steady and consistent logging of miles kept Amundson and his team consistently making progress while simultaneously staying as rested and recovered as possible.
In the end, it wasn’t any one single factor that resulted in success over failure.
Just like in business, Amundson’s success was in effectively leveraging the powerful combination of Strategy, Sequence, and Stacking.