When I’m not at my keyboard, I’m in the dojo. I train in Kendo, the art of Japanese fencing. It’s often a humbling experience.

Every time you spar you have an opportunity to test your ability to score points. Sometimes you’re successful and sometimes you’re not. Sometimes you think you’ve got a great chance at winning but you still lose.

When you’re successful it’s easy to enjoy that experience, but it’s fleeting. The opponent you just scored a point on can come roaring back with renewed spirit and take you out. Being always “on” and always being ready is of utmost importance.

There are many times when you’ll face an experienced opponent and you’ll find yourself being tested. This is good. When you lose, you have an opportunity to learn.

Marketing’s much the same. Sometimes you’ll win and sometimes you’ll lose. You always have the opportunity to learn from your wins and your losses. You have data. You have customer feedback. You have the ability to ask questions of others, and of yourself.

In martial arts, your most powerful enemy is yourself. Marketing’s much the same. When a marketing campaign doesn’t start “working” right away, some people get scared and pull the plug. That might be the right thing to do, but it could also be disastrous as if they had only continued for one more week or month, that campaign would have taken off after building its foundation.

If you lose, you analyze. You look for reasons things didn’t work and learn from those mistakes. That’s how marketing works. It’s a matter of testing. Whether you decide to blog daily, work on a SEO campaign, start building backlinks, purchase PPC advertising, or start a new social media marketing program, you have to give it time, then test and adjust accordingly.

You’re always marketing. You always have the chance to improve, as long as you can defeat your worst enemy: yourself.