Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Green Jeans and Mr. Moose were my preschool teachers. At least that’s what it seems like now. They were probably as close to preschool teachers as most kids had in the 60’s.
Apparently, after several years of watching the Captain every weekday morning on CBS, you were deemed ready for local kindergarten. I learned a few lessons from the Captain, but looking back, I have more questions than answers.
For example, how exactly did Captain Kangaroo earn his rank as captain? Was he in the army? Was he a ship’s captain?
And how about Mr. Green Jeans? Were his jeans really green? After all, the article of clothing is called “blue jeans.” Plus we all had black and white TVs back then. Who really knows what color his jeans were?
Of course, today kids are in preschool by age three. They easily learn things that we waited years to learn or had to learn at home. One of the greatest joys in my life is dropping off my grandkids (Nico, age 5 and Ava, age 3) to their preschool in the beautiful YMCA facility in our suburb.
Picking them up is even more fun, with them breathlessly telling me what Miss Amy or Miss Missy had them do that day. And typically they have some souvenir of their efforts to show me — a drawing or something made out of construction paper.
Over the past three years, I’ve picked up enough of the lessons they’re learning to notice that at least part of them can easily be used as marketing lessons. Here are a few that sound familiar to me:
Plan, Plan, Plan
When preschoolers get crayons and a big sheet of construction paper, the teacher tells them what she’d like them to draw. The students plan what they will draw, and choose the color crayons. Like their adult counterparts in the marketing profession, it doesn’t always come out the way they wanted, so it may need a bit of explaining.
Learn From Mistakes
Classroom learning projects and lessons are full of encouragement and direction. If kids get to the end of the project and haven’t accomplished the goal, or didn’t get as far as they intended, they’re encouraged to try again. They go back through the puzzle or challenge, and this time they know which mistakes and pitfalls to avoid and end up going further.
Know When You Need Help
It’s great to do things yourself, but it’s important to know when to ask for help. A child raises their hand to get help from the teacher. Likewise, a smart business or non-profit organization should ask a marketing professional for help when needed.
Almost everything you do in preschool is a new thing. From learning to sit quietly on the floor for a story — “Criss cross, applesauce” (hands folded, legs crossed) — to learning to make a jack-o-lantern. Business and marketing innovations happen faster than ever before. You have to learn and implement them quickly.
Preschool students are often asked to share weekend and vacation experiences. Of course, storytelling can be very effective for marketing purposes. You should share your stories with blogs and videos to build community and gain followers and customers.
Show And Tell
Does anything seem like better preparation for marketing than Show and Tell? If you can do it with your favorite toy, you can do it with your product or services.
Use these lessons to keep improving your marketing. I suppose you can hang the results on the refrigerator just like in preschool. If you do well, you’re more likely to put the results in the bank.