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Today’s day 11 of yet another ‘healthy-eating’ initiative in my house. And yet, the call of chocolate is tempting me just as strongly today as it was 11 days ago (when I swore I was taking a break from processed sugars. For the record… Diet Coke doesn’t count). But as I’ve contemplated on my diet, it’s struck me just how similar the ideas of dieting and advertising are.

Dieting and Advertising both require detailed planning

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

tape-notices-pen-diet-fat-health-weight-healthyIn both cases, you’ve got to plan – and I mean more than just the “well, I’m going to (diet or advertise) for the next few weeks and see what kinds of results I can get”. You’ve got to really sit down and plan out every step and every detail if you want to succeed.

If you want your diet to do well, you’ve got to plan out a meal calendar. Similarly, with advertising, you need to plan out what you’re advertising, when you’re doing it, and where you’ll be focusing your efforts.

Failing to plan out every step means that you’re going to be missing out on a lot of potential – and probably stopping at Wendy’s on the way home because it’s far too late to be cooking dinner (and the kids are all screaming about how hungry they are).

Both require willpower and dedication

It’s hard to keep with a diet – it requires a steady stream of willpower. And, willpower is a hot commodity. When I’m dealing with an increased stress level from cranky, sick kids, I’m a whole lot more likely to cheat on my diet than those miraculous days when they’re behaving like little angels.

Advertising takes the same willpower and dedication. It isn’t an overnight fix; it takes days, weeks, months, and even years to see a full return on your investment. It takes willpower not to pull the plug on an ad that seems to be failing – and dedication to look at it with fresh eyes, evaluate it, improve it, and relaunch it.

And both require TIME

calendar (1)Finally, both dieting and advertising require TIME. A diet doesn’t work overnight – even though I sure wish it did! A healthy lifestyle takes consistent work – both by eating right and exercising regularly. And when I get stressed about not being in the perfect shape after 2-3 weeks of dedicated effort, I have to remember that it’s not a week or month effort. It’s on a scale of years.

Advertising is the same. Sure, a great ad or a viral meme can have some great immediate returns. But not every ad or meme is going to go viral. It takes a lot of consistent, dedicated work to make sure that you’re creating the right message for your audience. And it takes TIME (sometimes days, sometimes weeks, sometimes longer) for your audience to convert into solid, happy customers.

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