I recently attended a motivational seminar in St. Louis. One of the speakers featured was a fast rising motivational star, Eric Thomas.
Eric told the story of the lion and the gazelle. He recited an often quoted refrain. The original one may have be penned by Christopher McDougall in his book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
Thomas went on to use this as a sales discourse. Paraphrasing, he said as the anointed hunter of his family the lead lion realizes his family will not eat until a gazelle is brought back to the den. The lion will chase his prey from sun up to sun down until the job is done. He does not care how hot it is, how many miles he has traveled, or how fast the pack of gazelles is running. Unless that lion can apprehend their prey, he realizes his family will starve and he will have let them down.
Meantime the gazelle’s goal is only to avoid the lion. Once the gazelle realizes he won’t be caught, he can relax. He can eat some plants, drink whatever water he can find, and spend the rest of the day lounging, waiting for the next sunrise.
Thomas related this scenario to those in the selling world. Are you a lion? Do you get out of bed early with a game plan in tact ready to pursue the next deal? Will you push away common every day obstacles and let nothing stop you in pursuit of your goal, realizing you are responsible for feeding your family?
Or… Are you a gazelle? Happy to just survive, kick back and avoid trouble to last another day. A relatively average existence.
This thought process can also apply to business owners and those responsible for building their brands and marketing their companies.
What is the difference between the marketing lion and the gazelle?
The marketing lion is the one is driven to succeed. He or she is an innovator, not afraid to step out the box, try new strategies, new tactics, and utilize out-of-the-box thinking to outpace competitors.
The marketing gazelle, on the other hand, is happy to just maintain the status quo. They do things because their company has always done them that way, with hopes they can just hang around and survive another year until the economy gets better.
Marketing lions tend to dominate their industry. Marketing gazelles tend to get eaten alive by the competition.
Which one are you?