69 Ways to Keep Your Sanity When Marketing

It was my birthday the other day and I realised I have been in marketing for over 17 years. In that time, I have seen a heck of a lot of things change. So it made me wonder how I have managed to stay sane, keep with the times and metamorphosis into a strategic freelance marketer.

69 Ways to Keep Your Sanity When Marketing is a result of that pondering. The various forms of advice help keep me going in the right direction.

I hope you enjoy it and it helps you too. Feel free to suggest your own as well.

  1. Lose the buzzwords, especially if they are in the wrong context or don’t make any sense – “How do I measure the office Labrador’s ROI?” – see how painful that is?!
  2. Value your time and the time of others. Don’t make clients, freelancers and other assorted people or yourself sit through a meeting or presentation that is irrelevant to what you’re trying to achieve.
  3. Social media is not, nor will it ever be a special little magic castle outside the realm of the marketing kingdom.
  4. Acknowledge that sales are indeed the end game of any decent marketing campaign no matter how un-award winning or trendy that sounds.
  5. Always remember customers are people first…and people speak in plain terms.
  6. Don’t let your ‘To Do List’ act like a Mogwai in a sun shower. Keep it reasonable so you don’t swamp yourself.
  7. Fixing a problem or overcoming an objection is crazy powerful so always view complaints as the opportunity to create a stronger relationship with your customer as opposed to a pain in the neck.
  8. If anyone suggests involving a committee of people signing off on anything, run! Run faster than your legs can carry you because decent marketing will only ever be in the opposite direction.
  9. It’s one thing to massage a concept, it’s entirely another to pummel the flavour right out of it.
  10. Allow your marketing to marinate overnight. That awesome campaign, creative idea or watertight tagline may actually suck balls in the morning.
  11. Never use an agency in-jokes form a basis for a marketing campaign. Man brand my a*** http://bit.ly/LLLgfo
  12. Never spend an obscenely big budget on any idea with full commitment to a schedule unless you know that your campaign kicks harder than the love child of Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.  Otherwise you could be stuck with a really bad idea no one can avoid it no matter where they look with your brand name attached to it.
  13. Create an eBook with the reader as opposed to the designer in mind. Avoid using too much background colour, include page numbers & make it print ready. Otherwise you’ve got something pretty but pointless- and ultimately frustrating.
  14. Lose the ‘sheeple’ mentality. Customers are more informed and self sufficient than ever. The only person who’s dumb in the sheeple scenario is the one playing wolf.
  15. Read about your industry, learn about new marketing styles and understand the industries changes.
  16. A slow campaign that builds trust over time is much better than conning people into a quick, fast and once only sale that invites shitty word of mouth.
  17. Don’t just get caught up in ‘this is the way it has to be’ thinking. Experiment, explore, and stay open to opportunity.
  18. Make sure you know what your competitors do well and what you do better.
  19. Never trust a person who promises you the first page of Google, 10,000’s of leads or some other form of marketing snake oil.
  20. Be honest with your customers when stuff happens. People are surprisingly adaptable and setting bad situations right can buy you heaps of great word of mouth.
  21. What difference is your product trying to make for a customer? Are you explaining it well?
  22. There are a lot of agencies caught up in awards and kudos, design philosophy or ‘just because’ marketing. Is that stuff relevant to what you want to achieve?
  23. Don’t plan around your product; plan around the people you think will use the product.
  24. What’s better- someone who like trying new things who might cross paths with your actual customer, or an actual customer who falls in love with something new and tells their friends?
  25. The startup mantra is currently ‘fail fast’. During dot.com it was ‘get big fast’. Does either really work for what you want to achieve?
  26. People like creative ideas, they like things that are surprising and attractive. Use this to your advantage.
  27. People talk about things that are striking and inventive, so if you want word of mouth, think along these lines.
  28. Ask yourself how you respond to products. How do you buy things? Discover them?
  29. Customers are spoilt for choice. Make your product shine by making it easy to find, easy to use and easy to talk about.
  30. Bullshitting about your product may get you the first sale but it won’t get your repeat purchases or word of mouth referrals.
  31. Don’t be suckered by the social media numbers game. Having lots of fans and followers only works if they care about what you say.
  32. If your staff don’t use your product you either have the wrong staff or the wrong product.
  33. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your customers really dig it when you ask them to pitch in.
  34. Stop talking to your peers and start talking to your customers. Hanging out with people in your industry is fine, but you’ll never know what your audience wants by asking people in the same field.
  35. Be real, be truthful, and be creative.
  36. Always avoid designing products and campaigns around perceived limitations instead of intended audiences.
  37. Make your marketing and the story it tells match the product and the experience it gives to avoid customer disappointment.
  38. Beware the person with a massive to do list and no way to prioritise.
  39. Committees never write kick arse campaigns. Don’t design your marketing message with a committee because you’ll fracture the message.
  40. Customers love to know what you value and how you support it, so if you are green or support charity, let ’em know!
  41. If a marketing idea intrigues you but it feels kind of risky, you are on the right track.
  42. Distil your single biggest competitive advantage down to a one liner and practice delivering it well in public, copy and to staff.
  43. Great marketing takes time for the customer to uncover it. Don’t expect immediate results, just keep plugging!
  44. If you find you have a group of customers you didn’t expect, don’t shun them! Get in touch and find out why.
  45. If you use twitter as a means to position yourself as an authority on your subject, it becomes a lot easier
  46. Boring doesn’t sell.
  47. If you want your campaign to be relevant to your audience, don’t assume who they are, get to know them.
  48. It’s far better to admit to a problem than it is to ignore it and deal with angry customer fallout.
  49. Know what your competitors are doing, but don’t copy what they do. Stand out, be yourself and be unique!
  50. Look at what your competitors do poorly and improve on what they do.
  51. Marketing changes all the time. If you want to stick to the same old tired plays, not experiment or are afraid to learn new things, go be something else.
  52. Never trust a marketer who doesn’t disagree with you on occasion.
  53. Never trust a person to do your social media who doesn’t have a handle on it themselves.
  54. Smart marketers train interns to do good work, they don’t use them as substitutes for it.
  55. It’s OK to have the occasional campaign or product that sucks like an Electrolux- just make sure you learn from it.
  56. The days of chasing clients based on available budget and prestige are numbered.
  57. There is a big difference between getting something done and doing something terribly. Think about it.
  58. Where do your customers go? Can you influence those places or their staff to help promote your product?
  59. You don’t always get the audience for your product you want but you can always please your audience if you choose to.
  60. Sweeping generalisations have no place in modern marketing. Know who your customers are instead of making assumptions.
  61. If you only have one idea, then it’s the only one you’ll have available to you to use.
  62. Always start from scratch. It’s the best way not to repeat the same mistakes.
  63. It pays to notice the things that don’t happen as a result of your marketing just as much as the things that do.
  64. The process doesn’t matter if you don’t get a result.
  65. Detractors and saboteurs are a part of life. Just make your marketing able to withstand their cactus tongue assessments by knowing who they are.
  66. You don’t get the best out of people by riding on their back or questioning their every move.
  67. Customers are like dogs- they bark at stuff they don’t understand, snap when they feel threatened or trapped but if you win them over and show them respect, they’ll have your back and show everyone where their loyalties lie.
  68. Know your story.
  69. If you suck at marketing keep practicing until you don’t.

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