Education marketing – success and the pursuit of mastery

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My view of success and creativity has changed recently. I’ve realised that success is just a moment, but what we’re continually celebrating is creativity and mastery. What is it that allows us to convert success into mastery? And is it ever possible to be a Master of Marketing?

If you consider an activity such as archery you will see what’s called archer’s paradox; the idea that in order to actually hit your target, you have to aim at something slightly skew from it. So, success in this instance is hitting the inner ring, but mastery is in knowing that success means nothing if you can’t do it again and again.

Mastery is not the same as excellence and yet not the same as success either which is a singular event or campaign or promotion, a moment in time, a ‘result’ that we use to monitor our actions.

However we build our campaigns, whatever our strategies and tactics are, we know that repeating activity from previous years is not the whole answer, they need to be developed, enhanced or amended to prove as effective next time. Mastery is not then a commitment to a single goal but to a constant pursuit. The pursuit of mastery, in other words, is an ever-onward almost…

“Lord, grant that I desire more than I can accomplish,” Michelangelo is quoted as saying, as if to that Old Testament God on the Sistine Chapel, and he himself was that Adam with his finger outstretched and not quite touching that God’s hand.

Mastery is in the journey, not the arrival. It’s in constantly wanting to close that gap between where you are and where you want to be. And isn’t that the essence of marketing?

We thrive on our own leading edge. It’s a wisdom understood by musicians when invariably they are asked which the favourite song from their repertoire is and they reply ‘the next one’ – always the one yet to be composed. As marketeers are we ever truly satisfied with output – outcome, invariably yes, but execution? We all know that next time ‘will be better because we can …’

How, as marketeers, do we find the leading edge and use it to our advantage in our marketplace?

I am currently working with CKD on a rebranding project – my own on-going quest for mastery. Printed literature will always be a part of the communications package we offer, but we also thrive on the leading edge, pushing ever onwards, so we are developing a Digital Prospectus. This new prospectus pushes the benefits of the rebranding further – easy access and sharing, contemporary yet functional usability and most importantly being at the forefront.

We thrive not when we’ve done it all, but when we still have more to do. And in the main this is in fact a collaborative process, a truly integrated project where we benefit from the sum of the parts being more than the individual total – in respect to both activity and the creative and production input.

Masters are not experts because they take a subject to its conceptual end. They’re masters because they realise that there isn’t one. We build out of the unfinished idea, even if that idea is our former idea. This is the dynamic of mastery.

Completion is a goal, but we hope it is never the end, for every marketeer has the concept of mastery as a guiding ambition.