Bionic Advertising Systems recently sponsored the iMedia Agency Summit, which was held December 6-9, 2015 at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Arizona. This conference gathers some of the brightest minds in digital media in a convivial atmosphere on an oasis in the Sonoran Desert. It’s a great source of new ideas and new friends.

This conference was literally a summit


As a “fun” Monday afternoon activity, we hiked Camelback Mountain. When Michelle Burnham warned all of us that it would be a difficult hike, I ignored her because I had hiked Camelback before and it wasn’t too hard. But I did not realize we were taking a different trail – the “Echo Canyon” trail, which is rated “extremely difficult” with double black diamonds on the trailhead. This trail is 100% rock scramble straight up the mountain.

Darkness arrived unexpectedly


We left the hotel at 3:30pm thinking that we would return before it got dark. But we did not plan well. We didn’t do the math that would have told us that the time it would take for the hike was more than the time left in the day. In other words, we did not pace ourselves. As a result, many of us had to navigate a tricky descent in pitch dark.

Luckily, nobody got hurt


Good thing mobile phones come with flashlights these days: very handy on a dark hiking trail! And good thing MapQuest provided us with the “Camelback” water bottles. The lights and the water compensated for our lack of planning. Fortunately, we all returned without injury other than minor abrasions. (note: this photo taken before the hike. We were not looking so fresh after the hike.)

An allegory for marketing

This treacherous Camelback Mountain hike was an appropriate activity for the iMedia Agency Summit. As marketers:

  1. We live in our own “Echo Canyon”
  2. We often underestimate the difficulty of the path ahead
  3. We often fail to plan and monitor our pace towards our objectives
  4. We often discover that that we’re off track when it’s too late.
  5. We rely on heroic efforts and luck in our attempts to get things back on track

A prescient presentation on pacing


Although not by design, my presentation on Sunday morning – the day before the hike – proved to be prescient. It was on the topic of “pacing.” I joked that it would come in handy during the conference because some of us fail to pace ourselves and burn out before the end of the conference. But we really learned about pacing when we were trying to hike down a double diamond hiking trail in the dark.

What is “pacing” in marketing?

None of the platforms you use to execute your marketing programs will tell you if you are on track to hit your marketing objectives. So, it’s critical to have your own system in place to monitor your progress and whether or not you’re on pace to achieve your objectives.

A step-by-step approach is illustrated in the presentation given during the Aspen Group agency day:

Automating the process of monitoring your pacing is just one of many features of Bionic media planning software. To learn more, go to:

Photo credits: Julian Haber Photography