Marketing with Wisdom: 10 Great Marketing Quotes 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.’” Ford’s marketing wisdom reinforces that great marketers can show their audiences what they need, even if they don’t realize they need it.
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.” Like Ford, Steve Jobs had an uncanny ability to peer into the minds of consumers and develop products that captivated their imaginations.
Although it remains to be seen whether more modern insights will exhibit evergreen relevance, it is worth exploring quotes from today’s marketing masterminds. As it happens, pearls of marketing wisdom continue to stream from marketing executives, innovators, and influencers.
When you combine the insights of these great minds with the knowledge of the latest marketing trends, you can engage in marketing with wisdom and more effectively connect with your target audience. Time will tell whether these nuggets will stand the test of time, like those of Ford and Jobs, but we’ve compiled ten great marketing quotes from the who’s-who of marketing professionals about marketing with wisdom:
1. Michael Lykke Aagaard, Former Senior Conversion Optimizer for Unbounce
Michael Lykke Aagaard is a freelance chief revenue officer consultant, and an international keynote speaker. He’s helped numerous companies optimize their conversion strategies by providing timely feedback and guidance. Aagaard continues to partner with some of the world’s biggest brands and is poised to leave a lasting impact on the marketing industry.
He once 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.”
Aagaard understood the importance of connecting with your audience in real, tangible ways. He knows that while data is important, it’s when you make an effort to understand your customers that you truly begin to win.
2. Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group
While discussing the topic of marketing goal-setting, Brenner provided this pearl of wisdom:
“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.”
Michael Brenner serves as the chief executive officer of Marketing Insider Group. He is also a CMO influencer and former marketing leader at Nielsen and SAP.
Brenner’s LinkedIn page is a hotbed of marketing wisdom. He frequently posts intriguing content, links to projects his company is working on, and more.
3. Leo Burnett, Legendary Advertising Executive
If anyone truly understands the nuances of getting noticed in the crowded modern marketplace, it is Leo Burnett, the legendary advertising executive behind some of the most iconic advertising personalities of the 20th century. Some of the characters that Burnett created include the Maytag Repair Man, Tony the Tiger, and the Marlboro Man.
Burnett’s famous quote on getting noticed without being obnoxious is as follows: “If you don’t get noticed, you don’t have anything. But the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks.”
The above wisdom still holds true today. Consumers are put off when marketers try too hard. Most would rather consume interesting and informative content rather than something that is over-the-top and borderline annoying.
4. Brian Halligan, CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot
HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan understands the importance of the “how” behind marketing content. When discussing the topic of creating marketing content, he said, “It’s not what you sell that matters as much as how you sell it!”
Halligan’s quote speaks to the importance of delivery, reading the room, and customizing your messaging to your target audience. Great marketing content that’s delivered well can boost the sales of average or run-of-the-mill products. Conversely, even the best products on the market won’t perform well with consumers if the marketing campaign falls flat.
5. Beth Comstock, Former Vice Chair & CMO of GE
Elizabeth “Beth” Comstock served as a vice chair of General Electric (GE) and oversaw the operations of GE Business Innovations. Her realization that marketing was a perpetual task was undoubtedly one of her greatest strengths. During a conversation on the role of innovation in marketing, Comstock said, “Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.”
This statement rings more true every day. Succeeding in any facet of marketing requires unwavering commitment, and if you want to achieve prime real estate in the digital marketplace (and keep it), you can never take your foot off the throttle.
6. Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs
While most brands understand that delivery is everything, far too many of them get hyper-focused on the visual aspect of their delivery. And while the visual elements of content are undoubtedly important, the tone and style of the message are just as important, if not more.
The following quote from Ann Handley perfectly encapsulates that concept. When speaking on the tonal importance of marketing content, Handley said: “Your tone of voice is a differentiator in a sea of same, yet most organizations vastly undervalued 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.”
For more insights from Handley, you may want to check out one of her bestselling books, such as “Everybody Writes.”, which has been recently revised with new information and findings. In addition to being an accomplished author, Handley is also a renowned keynote speaker, content expert, and digital marketing guru.
7. Michelle Killebrew, Former “Marketing Technologist” at Nomiku
Michelle Killebrew is the former marketing technologist at Nomiku. She is also a keynote speaker, author, consultant, and digital transformation expert. Killebrew has mused extensively on the topic of marketing, including what makes a great marketer. One of her most notable insights about what it takes to succeed as a marketer is the following quote:
“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.”
Killebrew remains a sought-after marketing consultant due to her ability to think outside the box and help businesses overcome their toughest brand-building challenges. She has received numerous awards over the last decade and continues to make an impact on the marketing space.
8. Lars Lofgren, CEO of Quick Sprout
Lars Lofgren falls into the category of up-and-coming marketing pros. He was the Director of Growth at KISSmetrics and I Will Teach You To Be Rich before becoming the co-founder and CEO of Quick Sprout and Stone Press.
While Lofgren is a well-rounded and talented marketing professional, he considers copywriting to be the foundational skill that every marketer should possess. Here is what he had to say about the importance of being a great copywriter:
“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.”
9. Rand Fishkin, CEO of SparkToro
Rand Fishkin, the founder and CEO of SparkToro, is also an accomplished author who has provided numerous insights on leadership, marketing, and business management.
Like many others, Fishkin appreciates “growth hacks” that can accelerate the maturation of business ventures. However, he does not view these shortcuts as comprehensive problem solvers, but rather as methods for adding value to already successful marketing strategies.
On the topic of marketing shortcuts, Fishkin had this to say: “Growth hacks alone can’t solve all your marketing problems, but the right ones may add immense value to an already humming marketing flywheel.” The bottom line is that growth hacks can boost the efficacy of well-rounded campaigns, but they shouldn’t form the foundation of them.
10. Ross Simmonds, CEO of Foundation
Let’s round out our list of quotes about marketing with wisdom with a simple piece of motivation from Foundation CEO Ross Simmonds. Simmonds is also a successful hiring strategist and wildly popular digital creator.
When discussing motivation, drive, and work ethic, Simmonds said, “hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle.”
So to win at marketing, you don’t just need wisdom and talent, but also a willingness to put in the work. Combining talent with skill, wisdom, and hustle is a winning formula that can transform brands.
As you continue to explore the world of digital marketing, leverage the insights provided by these great marketing quotes to tap into the wisdom of these trailblazers. Doing so will help you become a better, more effective marketer.