There Is No Perfect Marketing Strategy, Only This…

Growing up my parents told me I should be an attorney or a professional debater. At twelve, a stranger told me I have a way into the back door of people's minds.

These are odd statements to hear as a child, but for some reason, I believe there is truth to them. By 29 years old my companies had produced over $17 million in revenue and while I wish I could attribute this to sound business models and incredible leadership, I still credit our success to responsible marketing.

While there is no perfect marketing strategy, there are some golden secrets I've used that few are able to execute. I've listed them below.

3 Timeless Marketing Strategies That Leaders Often Miss

1. It's Not About What You Know, It's About What You Learned, Today:
Last month I found myself scouring LinkedIn reviewing the resumes of professional marketers. While almost all of them proudly listed their accolades I saw nobody list a statement like this,

“I learn marketing every day. I chase it like a hunt that never quits. The trends, the algorithms, the consumer. These are my books. This is my school. I am a marketer of doing, not learning to do.”

Being a marketer today requires fanatical attention to new information. If you are addicted to learning, you'll do well.

2. Speak To People How They Need To Hear It, Not How You Want To Say It:
You'll find this statement littered throughout the hundreds marketing meetings, board calls, and speaking engagements I've been apart of. There's something magical about it. The empathy the thoughtfulness or maybe the downright ruthless strategy of it. There is nothing more powerful in a marketing statement than authentic and sympathetic products, copy, branding, and even advertising. It's this dedication to caring for the consumer that produces the natural reaction we all hunt for, a purchase.

3. Deception, Dishonesty, and Manipulation Will Always Fail You:
To this day, I see SVP's of marketing using weasel words like: helps, can be, up to, virtually, similar to, all natural, or free. It's these marketers who believe misleading consumers to make a dollar is a sound strategy. But I disagree. Their absence of basic childhood morals drives consumer trust to the gutter and turns our economy into a skeptic's marketplace. The answer: honesty. Its always wins and always has. Lastly, we must not forget that we are dealing with human beings. They deserve full disclosure, truth, and loyalty. If your message must be manipulated to spark a purchase, your product must not be that good after all.

What timeless marketing principles have worked for you? Let me know in the comments below.

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15 Responses

  1. Therapists often talk about active listening when working with couples. The idea is to suspend judgment (read: begin preparing your response) while the other person talks. I am not in marketing but it sounds like the most effective long-term marketing strategy is one where the producer actively listens to the consumer.

  2. Thanks for these helpful tips. This is a tough one. Steve Jobs said, “People don’t know what they want until you show them” Course Steve Jobs was a ruthless tyrant in a lot of ways and his niche was technology products so maybe that only applies in categories like that. One of your previous posts was about the book Influence: The Power of Persuasion. I think the ideas in there are very helpful.

    I’m trying to learn more about marketing everyday to improve my knowledge. I did a lot of research after reading your post about blogging tools and though I am not a fan of email pop ups I am trying them for a few days to see the results.

  3. I follow my heart. Stay true. And faithful to me, my brand and mission. By being me – I am the brand. I never wanted to be but a year ago – I came out and out my story and face to my brand – Lovedesh. It will grow organically and word of mouth as also I do not have much money. Am forced to self fund and bootstrap it all alone until I can kickstart my products. I don’t pay for marketing as I also worked out what Dale is saying above. I do, stay true and let my voice ride.

  4. #2 is absolutely correct. This is true for all walks of life. I’ve been an ER nurse for 15 years, I have about 20 seconds to figure someone out, figure out how to communicate with them and their family. If I can’t successfully exchange information with them, they may neglect to tell me something vital to their care, or they may end up right back in the ER because they failed to understand how to take care of themselves at home. They teach us all the fancy medical terminology in school but you have to learn how break it down to their comfort level, sometimes you might even have to draw them a picture.

  5. #Once again another “thought provoking” lesson. Honesty, one of the many lessons taught in our parental home, but, inb many cases, pushed on the back burner where making money is concerned! This is a call to “get back to basics” and reap Honest rewards!

  6. Understanding the wants, needs and pains of your target audience helps you to identify what your audience needs to hear and how they need to hear it.

  7. YES! I’m learning that I don’t “do dishonest” well, nor have I really had the desire to be dishonest. Many, many people over the years have said that I’m “too open & honest for my own good”. While I do appreciate their concern for my well-being, I am trying to learn how to communicate in a more effective, business-like, honest way that benefits me, my families (both at church & at home), AND my clients.

  8. As Google says: “Don’t be evil!”. That’s one of my favorite company motto.
    It can be so tempting to sugar coat everything in marketing (I’ve done it and I’m sure I’ll do it again). The thing is, honesty often works so much better than a polished sales pitch.

    One thing I think not a lot of marketers are doing is: show sincere interest in others and they’ll pay attention to you. No one likes to be attacked by messages from people they barely know. Showing interest in who customers are and what they do is a wonderful way to build a stronger relationship and get them actually engaged with your company.

  9. The last statement makes me pause, will Apple fail because of their quietly removing all non iTunes purchased music from their program? I guess if it is in their agreement it isn’t dishonesty but it is sure experienced that way. I will wait and see.

  10. Great article, Dale, especially the last point. Every time we see deliberate deceit – even the euphemistically titled “white lie” – it affects us, perhaps more deeply than we realise.

    A good way to look at it though – by being completely honest in your marketing, even when it might not appear to be in your best interests, then you really do stand out.

    A good example is the copywriter that worked for a department store many years ago, and who was outrageously honest. One of his headlines: “Neckties. Not as Good as They Look, but Good Enough. 25 Cents”!

    Another: “We Have a Large Number of Rotten Oilcoats To Shift”

    The crazy thing is this guy got fired for being too honest, but I bet his ads would have pulled great results, if they were run.

    So today in the digital world, be searingly honest with your customers and prospects, even when you appear to be telling them things that will result in less sales.

    Rightly done, this approach gets great results. You make people feel more comfortable with buying from you, and your message cuts through like a hot knife through butter

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