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8 Pieces of Marketing Wisdom to Live By

October 10, 2017
8 Pieces of Marketing Wisdom to Live By

As the inventor of the Model T, Henry Ford considered himself to be an innovator, not a marketer. But his century-old reflection still resonates with marketers today: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses.”

Another innovator who changed the landscape of America, Steve Jobs, made a remarkably similar insight about marketing after he was asked if he convened focus groups to lead the design of the first iPhone: “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Pearls of marketing wisdom continue to stream from marketing executives, innovators, and influencers. Time will tell if other pearls will stand the test of time, like those of Ford and Jobs:

Michael Lykke Aagaard, senior conversion optimizer for Unbounce said:

“Do everything you can to understand your target audience. The better you understand what reality looks like through their eyes, the easier it will be for you to make the right marketing decisions. It can be easy to forget that you’re in the business of influencing real human behavior and decision-making, not just moving numbers around in a spreadsheet.”

Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group said:

“Set a measurable and customer-centric goal focused on the impact you create for them and your company. My favorite metric to use is subscribers. Subscribers will tell you if the content you create is actually helping your customers. And subscribers have the added bonus of having real value to your company.”

Leo Burnett, legendary advertising executive (who created some of the most well-known advertising characters of the 20th century, including the Marlboro man, the Maytag repair man, and Tony the tiger) said:

“If you don’t get noticed, you don’t have anything. But the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks.”

Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs said:

Your tone of voice is a differentiator in a sea of same, yet most organizations vastly undervalue it. Most spend a lot of time on the visual elements of their brand, but not a lot on tone of voice. So embrace tone of voice as your gutsiest, bravest asset.”

Michelle Killebrew, “marketing technologist” at Nomiku said:

Marketers must be inquisitive with a true thirst for learning. The landscape is changing daily – everything from the consumer expectation and attention, effective channels, strategies and methods and the technology required to execute it all. Marketers must be inventors with a love of experimentation and iteration to serve their customers well and stay competitive.”

Lars Lofgren, senior director of growth at I Will Teach You To Be Rich said:

If there’s only one thing you do as a marketer, work to be a solid copywriter. It’s the foundational skill of all marketing and also has the highest leverage. It’ll help you with every single campaign and every single project. It also teaches you the core concepts of marketing, such as target market, value props, positioning, persuasion and sales.”

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft said:

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

This pearl may be the most difficult for marketers to swallow. But consider the source: not only the founder of one of the most successful consumer companies in the world but someone who admittedly learned many business and marketing lessons from one of his chief competitors: Steve Jobs.

One final pearl of wisdom from Jobs may provide additional inspiration:

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”