Okay, so maybe I’m biased. After all, I do love to travel. And I just got back from another great trip. This time I spent 2 weeks in Egypt and Jordan with two friends.
But I have always thought that the best marketers are able to put themselves in other people’s shoes, and traveling is a great opportunity to practice that. When you are exposed to how people in different cultures live and work and eat and shop, it can help you look more objectively at your own customer and consumer behavior back home.
Now that I’m home, while reflecting on the trip, I realized that there are 10 things I try to do to better experience a country while I’m there
10 Tips for Maximizing Your Marketing Skills Through Travel
1. Go where people buy their groceries
2. Leave your camera at the hotel and walk around town for a few hours and just watch and enjoy
3. Wake up extra early and walk around a neighborhood (In Hanoi, if you get up early enough, you can see people doing Tai Chi along the lakefront)
4. Let some students practice their English on you
5. Eat at your guide’s favorite regular restaurant
6. Explore a hardware store (My favorite is the “No Spitting” sign I picked up in one in Malaysia)
7. Attend a worship ceremony; it doesn’t matter if it’s your own religion or another
8. Visit a real person’s home
9. Stop in a town or village that’s not on your itinerary (In Laos we stumbled upon a Hmong home which had stilts made of old bomb casings)
10. Learn how to say hello and thank you in the local language and watch how people react. If you’ve never done this, you will be so pleasantly surprised. In Egypt, I realized that so few tourists do this, that when I said “Salaam” to Egyptians, they automatically assumed that I spoke much more Arabic than I do!