Off the Beaten Track?!

by Sonja van den Bosch

Off the Beaten Track?!

‘Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less travelled by and that made all the difference’ Robert Frost

Will you dare to step off the beaten track?

The beginning of a new year is a potent time to break through old patterns and habits and to try something different.

If we don’t do this, It becomes very easy to fall into the trap of insanity, as defined by Albert Einstein Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ Of course we don’t want to do that.

It’s also easy to just copy what others are doing. In the marketing world I see this happen all the time, but it doesn’t work. Of course it is sometimes scary to zag, when others are zigging, but it is often satisfying and can deliver great outcomes. Did you know that although there is a big focus on digital, some of our clients are getting great results with handwritten postcards?!

The beaten path is safest, but the traffic is terrible’ Jeffery Taylor

By following your own path and by stepping off the beaten track, you’ll be able to experience more, live more, create more, give more, receive more and enjoy more, both in business and life. Who doesn’t want that?!

I recently had a very special ‘off the beaten track’ experience’ with my family, traveling to some still quite untouched islands in the Philippines. It was exciting, fun, even a little challenging at times, but so rewarding and fulfilling. We were 100% immersed in a different world, instead of being trapped in the typical tourist bubble.

Stepping off the beaten track isn’t always easy and can take a little more effort, as you are not following a standard approach, but you completely tailor it to your goals, needs and values. With the right attitude and support it becomes a great adventure.

How can you venture gracefully into unknown territory, no matter whether it is work or play?

Know what you want and keep an open mind

It starts with knowing what you want. What kind of experience do you want? What outcome do you want? In this case, I knew I wanted a real, authentic travel experience in the Philippines. Once you know what you want, you have to stay open to all kinds of possibilities and options, as that is where the juice is.

As a first step, I spoke to my beautiful client Simon from Air-Met Scientific, who shared his travel experiences with me and that’s how I narrowed it down to two island Bohol and Palawan. I did some more research and then booked the main things flights and accommodation, a stay in a small local guesthouse in Bohol and a stay with a local family in Palawan, I can’t tell you how much I love Airbnb, it’s the best!

I kind of knew what kinds of activities we wanted to do, swimming with the whale sharks was definitely on top of the list but didn’t plan or book anything in detail. That could all come later, especially as both our hosts had confirmed this for me.

This preparation stage is not dissimilar to when we do research for developing marketing strategies for our clients. Once we know clearly what the business objectives are and what we are working towards, we let go of any expectations. Instead we combine the insights from the business, the market and the customers to come up with a 100% tailored approach, that still leaves room to adjust along the way.

Of course there is a solid process behind all this, however the more open minded we are, the better our recommendations will be aligned to the needs of a particular business. I love research, as it helps broaden your perspective and makes you look at a situation from many different angles.

Find the absolute BEST local guide

We had great local guides throughout our journey. The real standout for me was JB in Palawan. Coincidentally, he was also our host, as we stayed with him and his family in Puerto Princesa.

JB took us to places that tourists normally don’t go to, educated us about the island life, helped us plan all our activities in Palawan, ensured we had the best possible experiences, and was there to guide us and answer all our questions. It was priceless to have someone next to you who knows where to go, what to do and how to do it.

JB is originally from France, so it was a big plus to have someone who understands our background and was able to connect with us on a very authentic level.

Being the best marketing guides for our clients, is the part of our job that I get most excited about and every day we strive to be the best we can and give our clients the best possible experience.

We’ve walked the path before, many, many times. We know where the pitfalls are and will ensure that our clients don’t make any rookie mistakes that can cost a lot of time or money. Instead, we will lead them with confidence, so that they will gather new perspectives and learn new skills along the way and of course enjoy the journey.

Like JB understood our background, our team understands business and the pressures that come with owning one, so we can relate and engage not only on a marketing level, but on a business level, which makes a big difference.  

Stay flexible and be willing to pivot

Things happen along any journey. Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes new opportunities come up as well.

When we arrived in Bohol, there was a cyclone warning. It was all safe, it just meant that we couldn’t go onto the ocean for about 2 days or so. We just enjoyed the rain and planned our activities around it. I was so glad we didn’t have a pre-planned schedule, as that wouldn’t have worked anyway.

We also had opportunities come up out of nowhere that we jumped on, like joining in the Christmas eve party at our guesthouse in Bohol, which was a great cultural experience (wow, they love playing games and karaoke), as well as celebrating new year’s eve with JB and his extended family, drinking local gin and more karaoke.

When we work with our clients on executing their marketing plan, we work in 90-day cycles, to ensure that we can adjust and be flexible to changes, either internally or externally. It also gives a great opportunity to focus instead of getting overwhelmed by everything that still needs to get done sometime in the future. It works, as there is a general direction, we know where we are heading, however we won’t get distracted by things in the future and we can focus on the now.

If you are ready to take your business off the beaten track and would like to explore us to be your guide on your marketing journey, please feel free to get in touch.

On another note, feel free to email me if you would like to have more info about our travels through the Philippines. Very happy to share our experiences and tips.

To more adventures in 2020!

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Inspirational marketing is about being true to yourself, being aligned with your core values and doing something you truly believe in and are passionate about. It is about creating meaningful relationships with everyone you encounter. It is about thoughts from the heart.

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