Now, this post is a more holistic approach to HOW we learn as individuals, and how that effects what lessons we learn from our previous marketing/sales experiences. In my blog posts I am fond of using the terms ‘learning from XY and Z’ and I am sure marketing pep talks are all about learning from past mistakes or achievements.
If we look at this snazzy home made diagram:
The stages of learning from experience can be presented as a cycle, experience > review > conclusions > planning. Short cuts can be deadly, and must be avoided.
For a small business the ‘learning from experience’ usually comes down to an individual. Maybe seeing how that individual learns to make sure we don’t jump to conclusions, take short cuts and learn properly from past experiences.
According to Peter Honey and crew, there are four distinct learning styles.
Activist – The trial and error marketeer, lots of mistakes will be made but equally there are lots of victories to be had.
Reflector – Considered and prepared approach to marketing, taking on board other peoples opinions and research. A more time consuming learning style, unsuitable when it comes to making snap decisions based on little data and the crux of the season.
Theorist – A methodical and complex learning approach, full of interconnecting relationships, ideas, evening and situations. More questions than answers can often ensue.
Pragmatist – Learning by practising, experimenting then releasing real and practical marketing solutions. No time for the innovative, unless there are clear guidelines and examples to prove efficacy.
So what is your preferred learning style if any? Check out the learning style questionnaire from Peter Honey publications. There is a longer version, but 40 questions is enough.
In essence, every good marketeer needs to hone in on all 4 different learning styles, or at least know where they are weakest. You need to consider your data (reflect), be practical (pragmatic), understand the complexity of the relationships (theorise) but be able to act quickly and take chances when the time comes (activate).
Once you know which hole you have been pigeon’d in too you can work on your weaker learning styles and also recognise your preferred learning style. Make sure the data and evidence you need to digest for the next move is appropriate for you to learn from.
Personally I am a strong reflector, pragmatist and theorist. I like to make informed and considered decisions with respect to my marketing and need to allocate time to make sure I don’t miss the boat pondering on the small details.
So when you read about learning from past marketing experiences, just consider exactly HOW you will learn.