Sunday, May 08, 2011

 

Eight things your mom taught you about marketing

Who knew dear old mom was such a great marketer! She may not have known it, but if you think about some of the things she told us over and over, the marketing implications are quite clear.

Eight examples:

"Use your manners."
I can't think of a scenario where being polite, courteous and respectful doesn't help with customers, prospects and even (perhaps especially) angry customers or past customers. There's no time or scenario in which it's OK to be disrespectful or rude. The more consistently you use your manners in marketing, sales calls and even contentious customer service situations, the more likely customers will want to work with you.

"Call when you get there."
Tracking has always been important to marketers, but it's especially vital now with budgets & resources tight everywhere. If you don't know what happened after the marketing started (which prospects ended up buying, which lead channels are most efficient), it's near impossible to optimize everything you're doing to maximize sales & revenue output.

"Watch your language!"
This doesn't mean avoiding slang or profanity. It means speaking in a language that's familiar and attractive to your audience, consistently. That doesn't always mean a formal voice, either. Old-school direct marketers preach that your corporate language doesn't matter to the customer. Instead, you have to speak their language, write like you're having a direct informal conversation, to get attention and action. Your brand strategy, accordingly, needs to include guidance for how you speak in addition to look & feel.

"When I was your age..."
We rolled our eyes when mom said this (and probably still does), but there's plenty of wisdom in the way things used to be done. The best book I read on direct marketing last year was written in 1923. It could have been written last week, and the lessons still apply today. Don't assume that everything new is better. Sometimes, 90-year-old ideas are still the best.

"You're the oldest, you should know better."
There's a level of responsibility, discipline and focus we bring to our roles as marketers every day. Part of that responsibility is to teach the next generation those same skills, even if they don't listen or act right away. Whether this means people on your team, those in your network, or the occasional request for coffee from a recent college grad or intern, carve out time to share what you know to make others better.

"Eat your vegetables."
Marketing isn't always glamorous. To get good at what we do requires a lot of hard work. Long hours. Sometimes tedious, repetitive work that isn't our first choice, but quite frankly is how the sausage is often made. We may not like all the vegetables, but they make us big and strong. They give us the energy to do what we do. As we grow in our careers, the glamorous, strategic work is always more fun. But the hard work, the tedious work, the grinding, that's what ultimately translates most consistently into success.

"Don't talk with your mouth full."
Listen more than you speak. Ask questions - of your team, your customers, your partners, your market. Spend less time talking and more time listening and learning.

"Be good."
This was mom's way of reminding us to remember everything else she's taught us. Use your manners. Listen. Do what's right. Make the world a better place.

What did your mom say? How has that made you a better person, and perhaps a better marketer?

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