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When my friends (and mentors) at Spin Sucks started publishing their annual 12 Days of Christmas, I quickly jumped on Slack and reminded Laura Pertrolino that the 12 days begin AFTER Christmas. I grew up knowing the days represented the time between the birth of Christ and the arrival the Epiphany (or Kings Day). I realize not everyone believes this for a variety of reasons and the famous 12 Days of Christmas song adds to the confusion. The period has always been special to my family, but Kings Day is a biggie for New Orleanians as it also marks the beginning of Mardi Gras season and the availability of King Cakes galore! Yummy!
 
Rather than continue battling between 12 days before and 12 days after, I thought I’d use these days and create the 12 Days of before Mardi Gras and toss out some of my favorite marketing ideas and tools much like the sought-after beads and doubloons we will soon be collecting.
 

Day 1: Catch a Great Pen

Invest in a great pen that will inspire you. You can probably find a couple on a great sale today. There are just some things that feel so write; I mean “right” about using a pen. As much as I love digital notes and getting PDFs instead of paper, there is just something about writing that helps me process concepts on an entirely different level.

 
I’m not alone in my fondness for note-taking. Writing takes time and attention. So, you’re better able to digest what you are writing. NPR reported from a study published in Psychological Science, In it, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles found, “When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can,” recounted Mueller. “The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.”
 
So, take advantage of the after-Christmas sales and invest in a great pen. 
 
 

Day 2: Catch a Bullet Journal

Along with investing in great pen (Day 1), I want to encourage you to give bullet journaling a try. It’s a great way to keep your calendar, meeting notes, goals and so much more. The thing about being a New Oleanian during Mardi Gras is that you have to figure out how to get all of your work done and still nab a great spot on the parade route (and sometimes that means finding the perfect parking spot with optimal egress). Keeping track of everything requires an organized mind…or a great organizational tool.

 
 

Day 3: Catch a Coloring Book

Researchers and therapists have long-touted the calming benefits of coloring. But today, coloring books aren’t just for kids. Like meditation, coloring allows you to focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate anxiety and open your creativity. Mardi Gras is a lot like those coloring books. One of the fun parts of the big day is the plethora of costumes you’ll see. Whether they are groups or single maskers, the idea is to be as creative as possible. It’s kind of the parade before the parade, between the parade or after the parade.

 
 

Day 4: Catch a Productivity Hack

If you’re a kid at a parade, you have one and only one goal: to get EVERYTHING. As professionals, we know we can’t do everything (even though we try). The right productivity tools can make a difference. Here are the four hacks that made a difference in 2018.

 
 
 
 

Day 5: Catch a New Skill

Every year, I find myself looking at bags of parade throws caught over a two week period, and I’m always missing something I coveted. It’s because I haven’t learned the skills others have to nab those elusive prizes. Make a commitment to learn a new skill this year – whether it’s how to nab a shoe at Muses or how to cook or how to hand letter (on my 2019 list). Check out some of our favorite ways to train for a new skill.

 
 

 

Day 6: Catch Some Goals

marketing goalsWe’ve reached the halfway point, both through our list and we’re halfway to king cakes. Yeah!!! Back to business. Whenever we decide to join the masses at a parade, it requires planning so that we can end the evening with our goal throw in hand – a coconut from Zulu, a purse from Nyx, a Muses shoe. The list can be quite long. Setting both your personal and professional goals for the year should be at the top of your list for today as it will get you ready for being a rock star in the new year. Speaking of rockstars, my friend Laura Petrolino of Spin Sucks created the Rockstar Guide to Setting Professional Goals. Give it a try.

 
 

Day 5: Catch a Good Book

Whether it’s romance, historical fiction, or a juicy mystery, read a book. I think it “loosens” up your brain when you’ve been bombarded with too many things to count, but they also give you a little insight into how stories are built – from the hero to the quest to hero’s destiny. As marketers, we tell stories all of the time. See how some of the best build stories around their heroes and find the inspiration to put your customers at the center of your brand story.

 
Shameless Plug Alert: sign up to get our newsletter and join our Marketing Book Club.
 
 

 

Day 8: Catch Some Video Content

Start using more video in your marketing.  Last year, it was the trend you keep reading about, but by the end of 2018, video production was firmly ensconced in the marketing communications toolbox. As consumers continue to multitask and juggle a variety of technology to get information, video is one of the best ways to tell your story and continues to grow as the preferred content delivery system for consumers. One of my fondest childhood memories was the televised meeting of the courts that not only marked the close of Mardi Gras, it kind of made me feel like we really did have royalty in our midst. In the years I was away from New Orleans, I lived through Mardi Gras vicariously through webcams and the televised parades that I could access through the television station websites.
 
Download our video content guide and start producing videos today. 
 
 

Day 9: Catch a Opportunity to Network

Whether it’s a chamber meeting, Ad Club luncheon, a Facebook Group, or Slack Channel, share, listen, ask questions and learn more from people outside of your four walls. Having a network of friends and associates is an important part of our personal and professional lives. Experts seem to agree that successful people can look to a strong network to help them through key times. Be intentional in your networking. Be honest with your network, and always follow-up.

 
I see you. You’re sitting there saying, “Nah. That’s not for me.” My friends at Spin Sucks have just the thing for you – An Introvert’s Guide to Networking. Make it a goal to take one small step this month, and let us know what and how you did.
 
If you’re looking to dip your toe in the networking pool, try out new Casino Marketing Masters Facebook Group.

 

Day 10: Catch a Free Spin

Mardi Gras is considered one of the biggest free events around. In keeping with that, we’re sharing some free tools. There are many marketing tools readily available to us, but which ones are best suited for our particular needs? How do you discern the “testimonials” from the truth? The first step is to look to your network (see Day 9). Ask, and your network will answer with the inside user scoop. If you’re still building on that network, and need to figure out where to start, Crello has put together a list of 100 free marketing tools you can try without risk. The list is divided into two parts: Create and Manage. Then, each part is subdivided into specific needs (like scheduling posts, design tools, work organization, website audit, etc.)
 

Day 11: Catch a Surprise Inside

Tomorrow is probably one of my favorite days of the year. It’s the day bakeries across New Orleans throw open their doors and welcome in the start of the Mardi Gras season. Yes, folks, it’s time for king cakes. If you’ve been in New Orleans for carnival season, or if you’re lucky enough to have a friend that has mailed you one of these colorful cakes, there’s a pretty good chance that yes, there is a plastic baby that comes with your cake. Like king cakes, conferences can hide a surprise inside, if you know how to spot one. Attend a conference this year that will open your mind and provide you with new ideas and thoughts for your marketing plan that may surprise everyone! One of my favorites is Brand ManageCamp. And, of course, you should consider Casino Marketing Boot Camp and find out what we mean by “mental pushup.”

 

Day 12: Catch a Get out of Jail Free Card

Maybe you want to give away a combine, or maybe you want to spend millions on a Super Bowl commercial. Our final throw of the season is a figurative Get Out of Jail Free card. Be creative in your marketing. Be bold, but thoughtful. Your idea should be consistent with your strategy and based on the needs and desires of your customers. A good idea that is less than successful, might just need a little rethinking. Here’s your opportunity to try something you never dreamed you could.

 
We’ve had a lot of fun putting this together and hope it will inspire your 2019 marketing. Marketing is a lot like Mardi Gras. Be bold, but be thoughtful. Always be prepared (i.e., make sure you know where the nearest bathroom is). Let the kids have some fun and catch a few things. Be nice to those around you. You never know when they will walk in your door as a customer. And, remember marketing, like Mardi Gras, is a marathon, not a sprint.
 
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