How to market like a badger

With the release of Bucky on Parade this month, I’ve been inspired by 85 colorful badgers strategically placed around Madison. It’s made me contemplate, “What is it about this animal that can inspire greatness in all of us, including marketers?” So if you want to be a badger, just come along with me. Here are five ways you can improve your marketing skills by thinking like a badger:

Maeghan Nicholson with Broadcaster Bucky.

1. Be an omnivore

Badgers are omnivores. Across the world badgers have been known to eat insects, worms, fruit, honey, snakes, roots, birds, eggs, rodents, and other small mammals. Similarly, marketers need to be omnichannel — open to a wide variety of tactics to deliver their needed revenue meal. If you’ve been subsisting on an email-only diet and not getting enough in return, maybe it’s time to look for a new food source. Might I suggest giving direct mail a try?

2. Dig

Badgers spend most of their time underground in self-built dens and are incredible diggers. They often chase and capture small rodents by using their sense of smell and pursuing animals right through the dirt.

Marketers can also achieve success by digging. They should dig through data to find meaningful insights to improve their targeting and refine their offers. They should also dig for truth in customer interviews to uncover brand stories that reflect their purpose and value.

3. Be persistent

The third definition of the word badger, after “mammal of the weasel family” and “native of Wisconsin,” is a verb meaning “to ask repeatedly and annoyingly for something.” Marketers can easily cross the line between advertising vs. annoying, direct mail vs. junk mail, and email vs. spam. However, the truth is that multitouch campaigns result in a bigger ROI than single tactics. Make sure you are giving your marketing and sales efforts the best chance to succeed by using follow-up techniques and consistent, repeated brand messaging over time.

4. Defend yourself fiercely

Badgers have been characterized as an animal that is normally quite docile, but becomes fierce when threatened or attacked. The result is that badgers can often fight off animals that are much larger in size. Perhaps it is these features that make it a good mascot, both for the University of Wisconsin and the Hufflepuff house in the Harry Potter series.

While marketers may not see an immediate need to defend their brand with such intensity, it will pay off to be prepared for a defense when it is needed. As we watch large brands like Facebook and Starbucks facing public crises, it is those that respond quickly and decisively that survive over those that bury their heads in the sand.

5. Make frenemies

Coyotes and badgers are natural enemies given that they compete for the same food sources, but occasionally they can be seen hunting together in the wild. Teamwork improves the chances that one of them will get a meal.

When you explore a conference exhibit hall, do you see a field of competitors or potential partners? Perhaps next time you can try to seek out ways you can both win instead of battling over the customer dollars.

If you’re already a persistent marketing omnivore, busy digging, defending, and making frenemies — congrats! You’re a badger! If not, are you ready to join the clan?

Maeghan Nicholson is the marketing manager at Suttle-Straus.

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