What Naked and Afraid Can Teach You About Marketing

My wife and I stumbled across the show Naked and Afraid on the Discovery Channel a couple of months ago and it quickly became one of our favorite shows. The show features a man and a woman stripped down to nothing (genitals blurred) and dropped off in a remote location (areas in season 1 included:A Louisiana Bayou, Tanzania and Borneo), given 1 item each and expected to survive for 21 days before trekking to an extraction point. The man and woman do not meet until they reach a specified meeting point.

While you may not think that seeing a man and a woman left out in the wilderness for 21 days may not teach you about much aside from how to purify water and that not all parts of a turtle are edible, I learned a few lessons that helped me think about marketing differently.

Don’t drink unfiltered water.

During one episode one of the men decide that he’d take a chance and do something he knew was wrong. He drank water that he knew was most likely not clean. He knew the odds were slim that he’d get sick and that is exactly what happened. The man ended up very sick and had to quit just a few days into his time in the jungle. In marketing, if you know that the odds of something working are slim based on prior testing or experience then you shouldn’t expect the results to differ. If you’ve tested something before and know that it isn’t going to work, of that running a paid search campaign without using any conversion tags is a bad idea, then don’t do it.

The goggles. They do nothing.

Each contestant gives the producers a list of items that they’d like to have when they reach their destination. The producers will then leave an item for each person in a bag at the meeting point. While most people ask for machetes or fire starters, one guy actually asked for goggles. While the goggles may have been perfect if he was in a great location to dive OR HE COULD ACTUALLY SWIM WELL ENOUGH TO DIVE FOR ANYTHING, they were only used twice, by his partner, and provided little value. As a marketer it is important to use the right tools. If you are running display campaigns it is essential that you have access to all of the data you’ll need in order to determine if you campaigns are having the desired impact or if you are spending lots of time on social media, you’ll need to use tools that allow you to look at engagement, assisted conversion and other key metrics. Having the rights et of tools will help you be successful. Also knowing how to use each tool is important as just having a login to analytics isn’t useful unless you know how to dig into the numbers and know how to look at the data.

Move to dry ground.

During the episode where the team was dropped off into the bayou a heavy rainstorm forced a move to a new camp due to flooding. The team lost their shelter and any dry ground. They decided to move based on different clues that the landscape provided and ended up in a dry and safe location. Going into a new marketing channel is very similar as you need to make decisions based on past experiences. For example, if you have had success with short emails to potential clients in one industry, it may make sense to attempt the same for another one.

Rely on your team for augmenting your skills.

Many of the people on the show believed that they were the going to be the dominant team member only to have issues doing something they felt would be easy. One man felt he’d get a fire lit quickly only to have it take days. He finally was able to get the fire started once he listened to his team member’s opinion and guidance. While the man was proficient at starting fires in environments he was familiar with, the wood in hsi Naked and Afraid location was foreign to him. Many marketers call themselves “experts“, “gurus” or, ugh, “ninjas“, but no matter how skilled you are or how long you have been doing marketing there is always something you can learn. Any marketer who thinks they know everything is someone who will ultimately fail. I learn something new almost daily just by asking the opinion of people I work with or listening to how they manage their marketing campaigns.