Growth Marketing Lessons from the Depths of the Colombian Jungle

Growth Marketing Lessons from the Depths of the Colombian Jungle

Olaf Krysik

HK Digital Co-Founder · 22 Sep 2021

Growth Marketing Lessons from the Depths of the Colombian Jungle

The beautiful thing about nature itself is that it always contains learnings within itself for those that are willing to listen and discover. In today’s article we will go through the depths of Growth marketing and how we can learn lessons from nature. This article is inspired by my journey through Colombia and takes a completely different angle, hope you enjoy the journey!

In Western culture, particularly European-westernized culture we find ourselves obsessed with the concept of “life”. We do everything within our power to ensure that we preserve life. Naturally, you may argue that this makes sense – but in the depths of the Colombian jungle I was exposed to a completely different mindset. While trekking through the jungle our guide Carlos, pointed out that the jungle in fact thrives on something completely else. The jungle in fact operates more on the concept of death. Worry not though this article will not be as morbid as it may sound, instead it will teach you a new mindset and approach that will be eye-opening.

To help you navigate through the thick jungle canopy here’s a breakdown of what we will cover:

The 3 Principles of “Jungle” marketing:

  • Don’t overexpose yourself,
  • Don’t be afraid of death,
  • Don’t harm the environment

The 3 Principles of “Jungle” Marketing

As mentioned in the introduction the jungle thrives not on life but on death. The circle of life here is paramount to the integrity of the entire ecosystem. The jungle of Colombia encounters no seasonality, being this close to the Equator translates itself into one season, Summer. Some of you reading this article may just consider that an ideal scenario, especially if you are selling summer-season products. But that is not what you should be looking for. See, the implications of not having seasons means that generally speaking everything within the jungle strives for a single person, to shield itself from the sun.

The implications here are vast, if we compare the Jungle shielding itself from the Sun to our own digital marketing efforts we may at first not see a lot of parallels. That’s okay. Let me explain. Many marketers wrongfully believe that in order to achieve success, their campaigns must always be operational, generating as much exposure as they possibly can. These so-called “always-on” or “evergreen”-campaigns are virtually the bane of my existence. In the world of Digital Marketing, that is always transforming and adapting the concept of having such campaigns should simply die. Death however should not be considered as something bad! Instead, look at it as a new opportunity. But, more on that later. Let’s first focus on the importance of shielding yourself from the sun.

1. Don’t overexpose yourself

Campaigns that are always generating exposure, that are always visible to your audience will without a doubt run into Ad-fatigue, killing their effectiveness. You should as such, learn to understand the trends of your campaigns and adapt them to less exposure. from your toolkit you can use:

  • Smaller daily budgets; setting a smaller budget ultimately drops the exposure of the campaign, preserving it for longer.
  • Set up a time limit; Agree to yourself that you will only run a campaign for “x” amount of time. This way you preserve the novelty effect,
  • Shuffle your audiences; that way the novelty effect is preserved and you can extend the lifetime of your campaign.

All of the above are potential solutions that keep our campaigns alive for a lot longer, they increase campaign potential and longevity. Naturally, you probably use some of the above in your daily marketing, whenever you are running promotions or limited time deals. Extend that to your other campaigns and who knows your campaigns may bring in great results for years.

2. Don’t be afraid of death,

Campaigns have their life cycles, do not be afraid to shut them down when they are ineffective. I see this on the daily campaigns that have been running forever. Containing all of the symptoms of too much time having passed between their inception and their current state. They have been burned by the Sun and are now hanging on by a thread. The jungle works in this way, if something grows too quickly and it invades or consumes the lifeforce of other elements, the jungle will seek to eliminate it and ensure others survive. The famous Colombian wax-palm is an example of a species that thrives under specific circumstances, and it brings with it the necessary life force for many other species. But it is not omnipresent, meaning that it does in some cases not exist in other junge areas. Your marketing campaigns should operate like this as well. Not every step of your customer funnel needs Emails, be picky about what you choose.

The other intriguing aspect of the jungle comes in the form of the ‘Kasaguadua’ which is the species of the local bamboo tree. For the purpose of preserving the jungle, these trees should be cut in roughly four year cycles, and the cycle matters. Only after four years can the tree be cut and used for its resources. How can we apply this lesson to our digital marketing efforts? Simply start by understanding the longevity of your products, services and even marketing campaigns. Businesses need to evolve over time, and some key elements will remain consistent and add value to longevity whereas others will need to be cleared up to make room for new initiatives.

3. Don’t harm the environment

In this day and age you may frown upon the words that I am putting on this piece of parchment, and my choice of words certainly does not add to the message that I am putting out here, or perhaps it actually does. The environment can be interpreted as any number of things, and it does not always have to do with a carbon-neutral footprint, sustainability or other forms of environmentally friendly business practices. Instead, one should look to learn and focus from the environment that one finds themselves in. As our guide Carlos explained, one can life in the jungle comfortably and in-harmony with the surrounding nature – even if you bring in electricity, modern luxury equipment and anything else your heart desires – you can still make things work. You just have to listen and adapt.

Your business operates in a fragile environment, from your customers, to your suppliers, to your employees and even yourself. Work on finding harmony in your surroundings, communicate openly and honestly and find solutions within the realm of options you have. Convenience does not mean that everything else can/should be eliminated. When you are building your marketing campaigns, always ask yourself how this contributes to your overall environment. If you cannot find a satisfactory answer, you should probably consider a different approach.

Consider a situation in which you are offering a product at a heavy discount because you are trying to create a strong incentive for those customers to make that final purchase. In the end, you know that the product you are selling is not as great as it is, and that even with a steep discount you are still hitting your profit margin. One could argue that this poisons the environment for you in the long run, and would you not rather focus on long term benefits?

Summary

When building your marketing strategy you should always incorporate best-practices and potential fail saves. The Jungle teaches us that we can live in harmony with our surroundings, that we can deal with seasonality and that overexposure is not only bad but lethal. Scale your business systematically, do not be afraid of failure and focus on your key winning aspects and strategies. Incorporate a margin of error to ensure that your longevity is maintained, you are in this for the long run.

The jungle humbles us – it teaches us – and it points out our shortcomings. It is also a wonderful teacher that tells us to breathe. To enjoy the moment and to take a step back. Relax, reassess, and find harmony in your surroundings.

And if you still feel overwhelmed, you know where to find me.

Olaf out.


Growth Marketing Lessons from the Depths of the Colombian Jungle

WRITTEN BY

Olaf Krysik
HK Digital Co-Founder

Growth Hacker with over 7 years of experience in helping companies achieve their growth goals.
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