A beloved staff member at my kids’ school made a comment to me in the elevator that turned out to reveal one of the more brilliant marketing tactics I’ve heard in some time.

She was holding a length of jump rope and heading to the gym, and I remarked on what I know to be a tremendously popular after-school activity that she has led for many years — double dutch. This woman has taught hundreds, if not thousands, of children to double dutch — something I never learned. Even though I grew up in D.C. (real D.C.) and have years and years of dance training under my belt, this truly enviable skill escaped me.

So I asked how she’s been able to get so many kids joyfully double-dutching. She told me she has a trick: she ties one end of the ropes to the wall so that she is the sole rope-turner, and she memorizes each kid’s individual rhythm so she can turn the ropes exactly according to their jumping pattern. Once the child has built up the skill well enough, they can jump according to any turner’s rhythm and speed. But while they’re learning, she customizes the turning and speed to their individual needs.


Believe it or not, this is simpler than memorizing jumping patterns.

Now don’t get me started on the mechanism inside this woman’s head that enables her to memorize each of dozens of children’s jumping styles. Some days I can barely remember my own children’s names. But what was equally mesmerizing was the implications for marketing and communications strategy — this is a brilliant example of understanding the needs of your target audience and delivering learning to them in a customized, individualized way.  

Believe it or not, marketing well is simpler than memorizing jumping patterns. It starts with identifying your primary target audience, and understanding what makes them tick. (No, this isn’t as easy as I’m trying to make it sound but it’s not rocket science either.) 

Next, you figure out how to talk to your audience when and how they want to hear you, and in a voice that is authentic to you but approachable and compelling for them.

Ok that part is actually pretty hard. But with the right marketing and communications strategy supports (hello!) you’ll be able to do it. And you’ll have your audience jumping to any beat you send their way.

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