Friday, May 11, 2012


Allow me to toot my own horn for a minute. I completed the Pittsburgh Marathon last Sunday in 5 hours, 15 minutes and 22 seconds. (The last stretch of time-consuming training runs also partly explains my absence of posts for a bit.) I ran just about the speed I had planned.

Two things struck me about the run:

1. Outdoor advertising is really noticeable to the 25,000 running the race and probably to the thousands of people watching (thanks for the cheering--it really helped). Something makes me think this particular type of advertising is on the expensive side on a cost per thousand (CPM) basis, but the impact should not be underestimated.

2. Running a marathon for the first time is not unlike putting together a good marketing plan.

I took a lot of the same steps in preparing to run a marathon that I would in marketing. I started with a clear goal. I read about other people who had accomplished the goal and used existing tools to set my expectations and revise my goal for realism. I set out a schedule to accomplish the goal using existing templates from respected sources and adjusting them to my purposes instead of starting from scratch. I researched the best online tools to help me on my way, started with the free ones to save money, and adjusted my tool usage based on my needs along the way (such as paying for professional medical help for my knees about 80% of the way through the training). I purchased strategic assets necessary to move forward (such as toe caps to keep my toenails from falling off) and leveraged existing information online and from experts to solve problems (such as getting the best knee-strengthening training exercises).

It is amazing what one can accomplish with planning and a lot of effort. When all was said and done, the marathon was hard but a good match for my expectations at the start of the race. If I compare my approach to some of the flailing around I have witnessed in marketing departments I have consulted to in the past, I think matching expectations and achieving the goal is all you could ask of a big project.

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