Marketing Strategies: Flapping Beyond the Struggle to Fly

Marketing strategies that move you out of the water into the sky, and keep you happily flapping your wings in formation to your destination of success?

When you consider the goose as he takes off into flight, flapping and slapping the water, running along on webbed feet in an attempt to lift off into the wild blue yonder, you might see yourself as a business startup. I know, I did. I struggled for the longest time to figure out how to flap my wings with marketing and bring in enough buying clients to move my business off center. Then it happened. Like magic, the clients began to arrive at my door.

If you’re not a bird watcher, you may have missed snow geese flying south each winter in V formation. But having grown up in the cross hairs of goose hunters, I learned to watch for the signs of their arrival. What a magnificent time for a drive to the lakes… During the day, when goose hunters were likely resting up for their early morning hunts, we would take off for the lakes and watch the geese. Snow Geese are predominantly white, with magnificent wide wings that catch the air in flight. They fly with a mix of systematic flapping and lunging forward to push the current.

After thirty plus years of watching them, it isn’t hard to connect the dots between the persistence of the snow goose and workable marketing strategies. I’ll share my insights.

1 – Geese know a good market when they see one.

Every year, as they head south for the winter, Snow Geese find their way back to the lakes and fields of southeastern Colorado where they know they’ll find good water and plenty of food for their trip. They lounge around on early ice pads, dip into the water for bugs and minnows a plenty, and fly to nearby fields to graze until their bellies are full. Then, they rest for the trip.

Finding a good market means knowing what you need. Your business needs buyers that are hungry for what you offer. Once you know your product or service is viable, valuable, and desired, the only thing left to do is offer it up to the right market of buyers. Taking your products to the right buyers and fulfilling those needs is key to making bank. Marketing strategies include a good buyer market.

2 – Geese return to the same market year after year.

Geese come back year after year. Some brilliant scientists and observers tagged some of the geese with little wristlets on their legs and started following their migration. Once they arrive in an area, they return to that area year after year for the same resource.

Residual markets are important to your professional and business success. Once you find the right market, it’s important that you keep going back year after year, to be sure that market remains yours. Find ways to check back with your customers, because they may not remember your name. Call them. Return and offer any new products or services. Make sure they know you’re still available to serve them. Marketing strategies include repeat buyers.

3 – Geese never leave stragglers behind.

When you watch geese lift off, you’ll notice some of the younger, stronger geese always stay behind to make sure the whole flock is in flight, before they take off. And they circle. Their V formation begins as they lift off, and they circle the area until all geese are in flight. Then they take off in the direction of their chosen path.

In business, you reach out and connect. You network to bring in all of your market share. Invite referrals. Talk to people and share what you have. Invite them to visit your website. Ask them to try your products. Offer your services to everyone in your market, because if you’re not serving them, they miss out on the opportunity. Be sure you don’t leave stragglers behind. The best marketing strategies keep track of buyer markets.

4 – Geese take turns leading the flock.

The V formation of flying allows geese to naturally rotate out the lead birds. Flying is hard work, and remember I said their flight is a combination of systematic flapping and lunging? That lead bird is breaking the way for the flock, and when he tires, someone else steps up and takes the lead.

When you’re watching a larger flock of geese, sometimes you’ll see three or four V formations within the same flock. That’s because there are leaders at different levels. The larger the flock, the more V-Leaders you’ll see.

As a professional marketer, you’ll need to rely on others occasionally to get the job done, or to learn new processes. Like geese, we can’t always be leaders, sometimes we need to step back and follow. Don’t be afraid to fall into line behind another strong leader occasionally. You’ll be ready to take the lead again when it’s your turn. Marketing strategies have room for both leading and following.

5 – Geese are strong and capable, resilient even.

That lead goose has to be able to withstand wind and air turbulents, and strong enough to keep moving forward, even through storms. He has to know the direction they’re traveling and be able to maintain good speed. Last I knew, geese don’t have GPS, but they do have great memories, because like I said before – they always return to the same locations. They’re strong and capable of battling winds and nature to get where they need to go.

Mother nature isn’t always kind, she occasionally sends them on their way, and greets them with a storm before they arrive. Geese weather the storms well.

Being a business owner requires you to be strong and capable. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep up your strength and abilities to get things done. Don’t hesitate to ask for help – mentors are plenty – and everyone needs sustenance to keep going. Marketing strategies must be resilient.

6 – Geese encourage each other always.

All that honking you hear when a flock of geese fly over, is encouragement. They’re encouraging each other to keep flying. Now, those of us who know geese, understand that it’s generally a noise geese make when they lunge forward, because they’re exerting a tremendous amount of effort. But the honking encourages other geese to keep lunging too. The longer they’re in flight, the more they honk.

However, here’s a point you need to know. When the leader is at the point of the V, he doesn’t honk. When he takes the lead, he isn’t honking, he’s flying. The other geese keep honking to encourage and motivate him to keep flying.

Encouragement can take you where you need to be. Seriously. More often than not, when I feel like I can’t get through the day, all it takes is a little encouragement to go on. As a leader, it’s your job to listen and know where you’re taking your team. You don’t have to talk all the time, sometimes you need to listen.

In my hometown, there’s a group called Honkers. They’re part of the local Chamber of Commerce and they recognize new business owners and show up to HONK them. They promote new business owners and invite them to join the Chamber. It’s a great way to acknowledge, support, and encourage business owners.

Marketing strategies that work best encourage others.

7 – Geese mate for life.

Geese pick a mate and mate for life. They travel with their mate, raise geese with their mate, and their flocks are made up of matched pairs. Except when they aren’t.

I’m sure there’s an animal lover somewhere who will be offended by this, but geese are food. Hunters hunt food. And the key here is that sometimes geese lose their mates. Whether it’s to a hunter or a storm, the result is the same, and one goose goes on alone with the flock.

They take flight and fly away.

All this to point out that in business, we often have struggles. We lose our business partner, or a business, and we must carry on. We have to step up and over, and take flight. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, but I will tell you that it’s easier if you’ve built a tribe of support to surround you, and you can lean on your leaders and those around you to motivate you and keep you using your marketing strategies and building your business.

Marketing strategies can help you overcome the worst business disaster, and are considerate of your personal life events. They don’t end when things get rough, the best ones are designed with support systems to help you through.

Don’t let a life struggle or a business disaster take you down.

  • Know a good market when you find it.
  • Think residual. Market to the same folks again.
  • Never leave a client behind.
  • Take turns in leadership. Sometimes, follow well.
  • Be strong and confident.
  • Encourage and be encouraged always.
  • Life isn’t easy, do it anyway.

Your clients are counting on you to find a marketing strategy that works, because they need what you offer. Don’t let them down.