“You can’t teach an old dog a new trick.” I beg to differ. Just give it 30 days.
Conventional wisdom holds that once our brains reach a certain age, learning new skills becomes more of a challenge. I believe that you can teach an old dog a new trick—and multiple tricks at that.
An easy way to learn something new is by binding ourselves to a concrete timeline—not too long to be overly ambitious, but an adequate amount of time to effect real change. Research says that to instill a new habit, we need to complete something 21 times in a row, so 30 days is a perfect timeframe to practice.
Take the 30-Day “Me Challenge”
Find a new skill that you wish to learn, a new hobby to adopt, or a new approach to a steady routine. I want to complete 25 pushups, 25 squats, and 50 sit-ups every morning, and a rest day of 2-minute of jumping jacks every 3 days.
Collect resources to help you help yourself. Read how-to guides, listen to podcasts, reach out to your network, speak to experts. I’ve researched the correct form for each exercise, and found music to keep me motivated.
Begin Day 1 with an excited, positive energy to put towards your goal. Give it your best effort and know that if you mess up today, you can do better tomorrow. Oops, I slept in by accident! I’ll do my exercises when I get home from work.
At the end of each day, observe changes from previous days. What can you learn? How can you improve? I’m feeling sore after Day 3, maybe I should slow down and alternate mornings and nights. I need to correct my form while squatting, too.
You did it! Congratulations! You maintained a commitment! You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!
On Day 31, do you still want to continue your new habit? Do you want to add something to your routine? Now I want to dedicate that time in the morning to something new. For the next 30 days, I’m going to learn how to meditate mindfully.
We can constantly improve ourselves in a realistic and achievable manner. But 30-day challenges can extend beyond the individual—businesses today are required to evolve and adapt with increasing speed, and more consumer data is available than marketers know what to do with. How can we learn what a customer wants? Create a 30-day goal to better understand your clientele.
30-Day Marketing Challenge
Select a characteristic about your customers that you want to learn. Which department is most popular among females age 13-17?
Look for similar campaigns in your industry to gauge how your competitors communicate with your consumers. Which departments target this group the most?
Commit to your goal, create actionable steps along the way, and reach out and communicate with your customer. Let’s send this segment offers for various departments and see which one has the highest conversion rate over time.
Analyze your performance every week to see track goal performance. How have my offers performed in each department? Is there enough of a distinction for me to draw a conclusion?
Congratulations! You stayed on track to your goal and succeeded. Segment the users by department and send them more personalized content going forward.
Review what worked, what didn’t work, and how you overcame challenges. I now know that 65% of females age 13-17 shop for accessories, and the remainder shop for apparel. Now I know that offers in these categories will have the highest redemption rate.
Retailers need to keep-up with their customers’ preferences to ensure they carry relevant merchandise. From small to large organizations, constantly learning about shopper trends is a key detail to beating the competition: Are rose gold bracelets still hot? Is she still wearing high-waisted jeans? Does he still wear a bow-tie casually or only formally? Is color-blocking popular with teens?
A recent Gleanster study found that brands that personalize recommendations and use segmenting to send relevant messages and offers see 360% more conversions than those that only personalize the greeting in generic email blasts. And companies gain a strong competitive advantage by learning more about their customers. Using targeted, goal-oriented marketing, brands can learn what their customers want. A sports retailer can learn how their customers’ purchasing behavior change and send them more relevant content depending on the season. For example, April would be the perfect time to reach baseball fans because it’s right at the start of the season.
Learning a new skill is a lot more attainable than it seems. Want to learn Spanish? Download a mobile app to your phone or learn from a native speaker via video-conferencing. Want to learn how to rock climb? Find resources online before hitting the bouldering wall. Want to learn how to code? There are a myriad of websites available to teach at any time, anywhere, at the touch of a button.
What’s stopping you from learning a new hobby? What’s stopping your business from learning more about your customers? Get out there and learn, you young dog you!