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Three Strategies for Humble and Successful Marketing

Staying Grounded

Last week’s out-of-nowhere smash hit “Things Real People Don’t Say About Advertising” isn’t just a source of hilarity, it’s also a good reminder that we as marketers often forget what actually matters.

Marketers, like all creatives, must fight the tendency to believe their own bullshit. When your job is storytelling, it’s not hard to tell yourself fairytales. Fairytales are awesome for pretty, pretty princesses — here’s some tips for those of you that want to be successful marketers.

Three Simple Tips

Bringing yourself back to earth isn’t hard once you have a good framework for evaluating your efforts — here are three tips to help.

1. Track Data

It’s important to know the metrics you care about. Are you tracking against revenue, leads or new user accounts? Having a few (less than three) KPIs is enough to keep you well grounded.

Trust me, if your CEO wants 10 million users this year, you won’t be convincing yourself you’re doing a good job because your favorite marketing thought leader shouted you out on twitter.

It reminds me of Dan Martell’s email signature “In God we Trust, all others bring data.” Dan’s the CTO of Flowtown, so the data thing seems to work pretty well for him.

2. Is your game exponential?

Good is the enemy of great. Too often I talk with brilliant marketers who are effectively punching a clock and growing their contribution to the business in a logical and linear fashion. 

Especially in smaller teams and startups (my specialty) — linear growth can often convince you that you’re succeeding, even as you watch your competitors catapult past you.

My absolut favorite example of this is the stellar job Eloqua’s marketing team has done investing in content marketing. They have had a tremendous impact on a timeline measured in months. Here’s a full case study on what they have achieved (and how).

Disruption is all around us, and there is massive opportunity for you to create a huge impact with relatively little investment.

3. Consumer Relationships

How many of your customers love what you build? If you can improve the product you offer, it will likely pay back more than any marketing investment you will ever make.

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Sure, marketers laugh their butts off at the inside baseball jokes on TPDSAA — but the true lesson to learn is that consumers care about being provided with an authentic and enjoyable experience, focusing on anything else is most likely a waste of your time.

Ramit Sethi might have the best single-line on this topic I’ve ever heard: “I learned that I can eke out an extra 5-15% from improving the subject line…or 500% from creating a better offer.”

Make sure you’re focusing on improving the highest impact task possible.

You should help us continue the conversation: How do you stay grounded and focused on true success?

I’d love to hear in the comments.


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