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Machu Picchu and Marketing: How to Climb a Mountain

October 24, 2019

Three years ago, my EO Nashville forum started talking about visiting Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail. Machu Picchu is one of the seven modern wonders of the world, located in the Andes Mountains in Peru at nearly 8,000 feet above sea level. 

Hiking the Inca Trail was the hardest task I’ve ever accomplished, and I’ve done some stupid hard things (like start multiple businesses…). 

While ascending Dead Woman’s Pass at 14,000 feet, my mind wandered. “What did I get myself into? Will I survive this? Why did I agree to do this?” all ran through my mind. 

But I knew my goals: 

  1. Survive and finish.
  2. Don’t get hurt.
  3. Don’t complain. 

And while running over these goals in my mind, it occurred to me that this hike had a lot in common with our approach at Element 47.

Our Nashville marketing team...?



Every prospective client we meet has some goal in mind. Maybe they don’t know how to express it yet, but they know they want their marketing to generate opportunities that turn into revenue and profit. 

And that’s where we want to start as well. Marketing without goals is like hiking without a destination. Any pretty landscape will suffice. How likely would you be to book an Inca Trail hike with a company that told you they “might” get you to Machu Picchu? 

You should know what your goals are right out of the gate. The more measurable and meaningful, the better. Page views and ‘likes’ are greatbut Vanity Analytics don’t pay the bills. And if your marketing isn’t tracking towards the goals you’ve identified, it’s time to adjust.

And if your marketing isn’t tracking towards the goals you’ve identified, it’s time to adjust.


My research on the Inca Trail led to a lengthy packing list. Most important? Lots of warm layers for the cold temperatures. Evenings would get into the low 40s. Add a little wind and you’ve got a recipe for some miserable, sleepless nights. 

A sizable water bottle, sunscreen, insect repellent (yes, they can be really bad), and appropriate socks and shoes were vital. And trekking poles are a serious leg-saver. 

Similarly, it’s going to be hard to reach your marketing goals without the right equipment on hand. A well-designed website that converts visitors into prospects or customers is at the top of the list. 

That list also includes analytics (and the ability to understand that data and use it). Well-crafted advertising campaigns that get you the most bang for your buck. Marketing automation integrations, video, social. It’s a lot. 

Don’t head out on your marketing trek until you’ve got the right equipment in place to swiftly convert visitors.


Hiking 36 miles with 6 people through the Andes requires some support. There are 190 approved trekking companies in Peru. We chose Evolution Treks and were very, very happy. If I’m sleeping on the ground for 3 nights, I’m going to be much happier if someone carries all the heavy stuff, sets up my tent, and cooks for me. And those porters were terrific—friendly, funny, and humble people.

Watching the porters set up camp made me understand what an undertaking this hike really was. They worked together doing EVERYTHING. All we had to do was sleep, eat, and hike. Frankly, those are about the only things I’m qualified to do in the wilderness. 

If your company’s marketing arm is functioning well, it means the right equipment, people, and processes are working together like clockwork to move towards your goalsAnd those people are keeping you updated at every step along the way: How are the efforts tracking with goals? Are you on the right path to Machu Picchu? 

If your marketing efforts are working, it means the right equipment, people, and processes are working together like clockwork.


The porters with Evolution Treks don’t work for free. And we wanted some comforts that super-fit, true outdoor enthusiasts might choose not to purchase. Those articles of clothing I needed cost a pretty penny. Trekking poles, I never had those before. Before I took one step on the Inca Trail, I’d spend a fair amount of money. 

And I wouldn’t change a thing. 

We paid for what we wanted. It wasn’t cheap. But as our guide told us, “the pain is temporary [in both my wallet and my legs], but the glory lasts forever.”  

And you know what? I hit all three of my goals. I survived and finished, all my faculties intact and uninjured. And there was no complaining. (Some people reading this won’t believe it…but it’s true.)

Eric Jackson at Machu Picchu

 Ready to Climb?

So whether you’re planning to climb a mountain or climb to new heights with your marketing, the process is the same:  

  1. Set your goals
  2. Get the equipment you need 
  3. Surround yourself with the right support 
  4. Dedicate the budget necessary to make numbers 1-3 happen 

I’m happy to talk to you about the Inca Trail or your marketing goals. Seriously. 

Ready to take the next step?

Take it now!