Three Things You Could Learn From a Turkey

I admit it…I’m spoiled.  My office window looks out on a large open area of hillside and pine trees where it’s not uncommon to see deer, wild turkeys, moose, elk, chipmunks, porcupines, the occasional coyote, a variety of birds,  and other wildlife.

Yes,  I love it…and hate it.  I am a nature lover and am delighted that we share common space without interfering…too much.  I hate how much it distracts me at times,…like when I find myself quitting writing to watch the wildlife.

This morning, however, as I watched a young turkey hen with her baby chick  when I sat down to write,  I realized there are some valuable lessons that could be learned from her behavior.  And I decided to share.  OK, I know…who ever equates turkeys with marketing measures?  Well…today, I am…and I hope it’s meaningful.

Tell me, after you read this, if you agree with these three turkey behaviors that could make you a better marketer:

Behavior #1:  Watch.  Mama Turkey is vigilant.  She is super aware of her surroundings.  Even as she scratches the dirt looking for seeds and other food bits, she is constantly looking around, paying attention to every small change in the environment.   If you review some of the “lessons learned” from marketers who have failed, one of the first things they will tell you is they ignored the signs that were all around them, and plunged themselves into free fall and bankruptcy because they weren’t paying attention.  They failed to be aware of their environment, or the desires of the market they served; resulting in their own demise.

Behavior #2:  Read the Signs.  For the “real” turkeys, this may be fight or flight.  Knowing what’s going on all the time in their environment means knowing when to fly off, or to stand and protect.  As a marketer, you can be a real turkey, as well, when you don’t read the signs.  When your clients keep telling you they desire a red sports car this year, and you continue to insist on trying to sell them a blue one…who do you think the turkey is?  Or…perhaps…who do you think will get served up on a platter?  Successful marketers not only read the signs, they anticipate them.  Go out on the streets, watch TV, listen to the news with an ear tuned to trends.   The news in the last few years has been almost…all…bad.  For those marketers willing to read the signs, however, it’s also been about…the amazing opportunities it’s created.  I am fortunate to be a friend of a fantastic copywriter by the name of Ray Edwards…http://rayedwards.com.  In a recent newsletter he issued, he talks about what he’s been doing this year to help the economy…along with the army of other small, independent entrepreneurs who are truly the backbone of the American economy.  No “gloom and doom” there, just a great reminder that for those marketers willing to read the signs, there are plenty of opportunities right now.   Opportunities, small and large, that will help us help the economy recover.

Behavior #3:  Don’t Overreact.  If  Mama Turkey and her chick flew off every time a small breeze came up, they would be worn out.  They wouldn’t have enough energy left to find food…and they wouldn’t survive.  Yes…it’s a tough world for them.  Coyotes and other predators  do lurk in the shadows…waiting…watching…for the opportunity to move in.   It’s really no different for marketers or businesses everywhere.  If, every time sales begin to decline, do you ask negative questions like…”What did I do wrong? Why am I always the victim? Will I be bankrupt in a week or less? Or…do you ask positive questions like..” What can I do to reposition myself? Is there another market segment that needs my product more now than my current market?”…or “Should I be looking at another opportunity to make a difference?” Don’t overreact to what’s not currently happening.  Ask yourself the right questions…the kinds of questions that keep you focused on finding solutions, not placing blame.  That way, you’ll be like the turkey who has food…and the energy to eat it.

Years ago,a colleague bought me a T-shirt with the slogan:  “It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you work with a bunch of turkeys.”  I actually put it on over a suit and wore it around the office for an afternoon.  And…all afternoon…I kept thinking…”Man, I love this bunch of turkeys I work with.  I learn from them every day.”

Funny, I really hadn’t thought about that for years until I saw Mama Turkey and her baby chick this morning.

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