When travelling for work, even in a country very different from your own, it can be relatively easy to live within normal boundaries and not step far outside your comfort zone. For example, I always try to book accommodation with an en suite bathroom and WiFi, and with extra security if needed. In these hotels familiar food and drink is usually available too. By doing this I can continue to function as normal with few major surprises, and deliver the results that I had focused on at the beginning of my work day.
Of course the risk of behaving in this way is that, by insulating yourself from your surroundings and focusing only the familiar, you miss a special experience or unique opportunity.
Have you ever tried staring at something until that is all you can see? Everything around the thing you are staring at goes blurry, or even disappears. Or have you ever been so focused on a computer game or film that you didn't even hear your partner call you from another room? That is because being focused is a powerful thing and has an important role in your success - but it can also mean that you miss other things going on around you.
So, when travelling, I started to open up to doing things that were a bit more out of my comfort zone. Nothing too rash you understand! The first time I ate caterpillars was an example of that - piping hot and crispy from a griddle on an open fire in Zambia. Actually they were very tasty, and left me with a willingness to embrace the idea of eating insects as a source of protein in the future.
My point is this: if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. If you focus too intently on the business plan you made last year, and don't make sure that you are open and ready for market changes you will find it very difficult to take advantage of new opportunities when they arise - indeed you might not even see them!
Strategic Marketing helps you to identify what is important for your business's growth so that you can make a focused plan, but also that you can see, select and take advantage of the right new opportunities faster than your competitors. Just stop for a second and think - if a fantastic new opportunity arose today for your business, would you be ready to decide if it was right for your business to divert resources to take advantage of it?