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"A-level" Execution + "C-level" Strategy

Something to Think About

Three meditations: something to think about, a “how-to” resource, and a marketing deep dive. Ommmmmm.

This is a tease for Amundsen’s impressive story. Read on for more. 

 

But first…

"How To"

Free access to the 2-Day Marketing MBA mini course from last time is still available! Create marketing plans and budgets FAST

 

Image Creation

 

If you’ve explored using AI tools for image creation, you’ve probably run into Midjourney.

 

The image quality possible with Midjourney is arguably unmatched by runners up Dall-E, Adobe Firefly or Stable Diffusion. Midjourney is often my go-to for AI-generated photos. 

 

I was excited to find Rory Flynn and his library of resources. 

 

He has several paid resources, but if you want to get a jump start on Midjourney, his free resources are pretty amazing.

A Marketing Deep Dive

Strategy or Execution?

The 20 Mile March 

“A-level” execution of a “C-level” strategy beats a “C-level” execution of an “A-level” strategy.

 

You need both execution and strategy.

 

But relentless execution becomes unstoppable.

 

One of my favorite examples of this comes from Jim Collins in his sequel to Good to Great, called Great by Choice.

 

He tells the story of the race to be the first humans at the South Pole.

 

The winners would only beat the runners up by 34 days.

 

The tiniest sliver in the timeline of human history separated first place and second.

 

And also marked the difference between triumph and disaster.

 

There are limitless parallels with growing a business.

 

I mean it was high drama.

 

The financing, the technology, the roadmap—all sound like startup land.

 

The Founders

In 1911, Robert Falcon Scott from England and Roald Amundsen of Norway were both successful explorers.

 

They set off for the South Pole within days of each other.

 

Preparations were different between the men. 

 

Amundsen studied Eskimos. He noted their use of dogs to pull sleds, their use of loose clothing, and how they never hurried, avoiding the sweat that could turn to ice on their skin.

 

Amundsen prepared meticulously for success.

 

Scott didn’t study Eskimos. 

 

So he showed up in Antarctica with ponies. 

 

Horses hooves post hole in the snow. They sweat on their skin, which turns to ice. And they are herbivores, where dogs are carnivores. If things got too bad, Amundsen planned to kill weaker dogs and feed them to the stronger.

 

Instead of tried and true technology—dogsleds—Scott depended on mechanical sledges. 

 

The sledges hadn’t been tested in the extreme cold and within days the engines cracked.

 

Scott ended up making his trip mostly powered by neither dogs, ponies, or motorized sledges… but by human power.

 

But perhaps the most unique difference was the pace.

 

Amundsen targeted about 20 miles per day. 

 

In good weather or bad. 

 

He didn’t hurry, nor did he slow.

 

Scott on the other hand rushed in good weather and camped in bad.

 

His execution was erratic.

 

Ultimately, Amundsen arrived first on December 15, 1911. They left a note for Scott.

 

When Scott reached the pole on January 17, 1912, his poor spirits were only worsened to find Amundsen’s letter there waiting for him.

 

Amundsen marched back—20 miles per day—and made it back to camp on Jan 25, 1912.

 

Scott, however, ran out of supplies. The weather turned and he along with his team froze to death some time in the middle of March.

Collins points out that founders who shared traits with Amundsen were:

 

  • Not more creative
  • Not more visionary
  • Not more charismatic
  • Not more ambitious
  • Not more blessed by luck
  • Not more risk seeking
  • Not more heroic
  • Not more prone to making big, bold moves. 
 

They may have done all of these things, but not more so than their competitors.

 

What separated them most, was that they were disciplined in their execution.

 

They marched 20 miles a day, every day.

 

And the best marketing efforts I’ve seen mirror this.

 

They aren’t sporadic pushes, big initiatives, or finding the right levers to pull… once.

 

They are built with consistent execution.

 

Step by step, every day.

 

Like the 20-mile march.

 

 

Namaste.

 

Chad Jardine, CEO

CMO Zen

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P.P.S. I recently released the 2-Day Marketing MBA. Grab a copy of the fastest way to build a marketing plan, budget, timeline, and KPIs.

AI notice: This newsletter is human-written. Images however may be AI-generated.

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