How Living in the Alaskan Wilderness Made Me a Better Marketer

Over the last two years, I’ve been fortunate to live and work remotely in four southeast Alaskan villages and towns while my wife was on short-term job assignments. During this combined eight months in the Alaskan frontier, I lived multiple places, from a 200-person native Tlingit village to larger cruise ship port towns of Sitka. While there, I found many parallels to my 10 years in the marketing automation industry and fortunately, managed to capture some great pictures along the way. The following are three that stand out the most:

1. The Importance of Being Connected

One evening, I was hiking a trail in Sitka, Alaska with my wife and we were dreaming about our next national park adventure. Trying to align schedules, I pulled up my Salesforce mobile app to review my Salesforce Campaign details and see upcoming event dates. In doing so, I did a double take at how remote, yet connected, I was. Seeming too good to be true, I snagged my wife’s phone to document the real-life “marketing and sales alignment” moment via the Salesforce mobile app being leveraged in the great outdoors.

Salesforce mobile app in Alaska wilderness

This reminded me of how vital a strong CRM integration is for marketing automation. With the recent Connected Campaigns update, marketers like myself can be up-to-date on the latest campaign details, no matter where we might be traveling. This update also gives broader campaign visibility across departments and allows me to better track campaign influence and view engagement history all on the same record in Salesforce.

While it might be nice to take a break from your email inbox when on vacation, there are still ways to stay connected to your data to avoid missing out on bigger opportunities. And once you return from that vacation, make sure your marketing automation platform isn’t just connected, but that you’re fully leveraging the CRM integration to maximize marketing’s impact across the wider organization.

2. Prepare Now for the Next Season

Being close to the Arctic Circle, seasons in Alaska can be short-lived. It always amazed me how I saw what resembled Spring, Summer and Fall happen within weeks instead of months.

In talking with the locals, I learned how being prepared to capitalize on opportunities was so vital to their survival in the Alaskan wilderness. These communities are always working hard to schedule, prioritize, and complete tasks so that they are prepared when seasonal opportunities arise, such as picking berries, catching salmon, or harvesting crops.

That same mentality applies to your marketing plan: if you don’t have a good plan in place, you might miss out when strategic opportunities present themselves. Taking advantage of the slower “winter-type” seasons can help ensure you have a solid foundation and are ready for what might come in seasons ahead.

This is the time to ensure your technical setup is complete, you’ve optimized your lead generation strategy with forms and landing pages, your email templates are updated with responsive design and latest branding, your lead assignment process is streamlined, and you’re on the same page with your sales leaders when it comes to reporting and measuring marketing campaigns.

That way, when the busy season arrives, your team can take advantage of new and exciting opportunities instead of being distracted by unforeseen hiccups.

Berry Picking in Alaska

3. Growth Through Exploration

My biggest growth experiences in Alaska happened when I got out of my comfort zone and simply explored. Whether it was plugging into the local community by volunteering with cultural events, or getting out into the frontier to experience awe-inspiring creatures and wilderness, it was during those times when I was seeking out bald eagles and mountain tops that I stumbled upon other exciting creatures like bears and moose. In these moments, I had to learn how to quickly adapt to my situation. These were the times when I could put that awareness into practice and actually grow. Often, all I had to do was simply take a step outside to embark on an adventure.

I find that many times, we stay in our marketing automation comfort zone and stick to a few staple features like emails, forms, and landing pages. While it might be more comfortable to revisit familiar trails or stick to the same automations, I’d challenge you grow through exploration. What existing features have you heard about and wanted to try, but never truly put in place?

For example, maybe you’ve been using drip programs but haven’t explored the robust capabilities of Engagement Studio. This week, get out there and try your first Engagement Studio program! Similarly, what new features have become available in the past few releases that you still haven’t explored? Maybe it’s time you ventured into Pardot Campaign Influence Attribution Models, sent an email with an emoji in the subject line, or set up your first Connected Campaign.

Set a goal this week to review and explore at least three new features you were unaware of. The beauty of being a B2B marketer is that we have the ability to create, test, and optimize marketing programs. Take advantage of the opportunity to be innovative and try something new!

Hiking in Alaska

I’ll leave you with a favorite quote I recently heard, “The more you see the world the better you see the world” (~ Unknown). B2B Marketing is the exact same. I hope you’ll get connected, prepare now for what’s next, and grow through exploration. Happy trails!