18 Truisms about Managing Marketing People and Being One:

  1. Challenge the norm always, every day:  Expect to be challenged and challenge everyone – even the bosses.  “We’ve always done it this way,” and “Because I said so,” or “everyone does it this way” is death.
  2. Marketing and sales aren’t synonymous:  The goal of marketing is to create engagement and action, which creates sales.  If an exec thinks they are the same, you don’t want to work for them.
  3. Marketing is equal parts science and art: Clicks and views are essential, but you can’t get them without motivating messaging and branding. Don't discount the art.
  4. Listen and value people – but only listen and value those who also listen and create value.
  5. People resist change, but need it: People crave certainty and uniformity, but those unwilling to embrace change are in the wrong job.  Get rid of them.
  6. Never try to be the smartest person in the room: Even if you are, don't tell people - it kills collaboration.
  7. Consider the workplace as an inter-generational potluck:  Everyone brings something to the table – energy, experience, expertise, knowledge, etc.  Don’t assume just because someone is old or young that they don’t know something valuable.
  8. Staffing is never a decision between experience and youth.  It is a melding of the best of both, where in the right environment everyone can learn from each other and make something even better
  9. Know when to hold (fight) and when to fold: Always be willing to fight for great ideas, but don’t analyze things to death.  Know the inflection point where it is clear your dog just won’t hunt.
  10. Forget about personalities: The goal is always greatness, results and fun/interesting work, not pleasing bosses, co-workers and staff.
  11. Don’t confuse niceness with friendship:  Pleasantries aside, there is a job to do.  Never abuse the privilege and always remember whose boss.
  12. If your boss has to do your job, they don’t need you.
  13. People care a lot less about you than you think:  They care about themselves a lot more.
  14. Never stop improving – if you stop you die. Avoid the irrelevance gap – always learn and improve yourself.
  15. Mistakes and hairbrained ideas come with the territory.  Cherish them & always listen.
  16. Never make the same mistake twice. The second time it becomes a choice
  17. Always keep thinking and proposing new ideas and different/better ways to do things.  Not everything will fly but it shows initiative and creating thinking, and who knows, something crazy might be a game changer.
  18. Bosses should consider themselves as a "Mentern": Their job is to guide AND learn.  

16 Rules of Marketing Learned Over 35 Years:

  1. THINK LIKE A CUSTOMER:  Be skeptical, like they are. Assume they could care less about your product and start from there. 
  2. SIMPLIFY:  If you can’t tell a compelling story simply, you don’t understand your product or audience. 
  3. CRYSTALIZE: Focus on how your product is different & ignore what is the same.
  4. CHALLENGE EVERYTHING:  Take everything you know and blow it up.  Assumptions and inertia are deadly, and lead to more company bullshit.
  5. CHALLENGE THE NORM: “Me too” doesn’t sell, “me different” just might.
  6. REMEMBER MARKETING 101:  Customers don’t buy ¼ inch drill bits.  They buy ¼ inch holes. It’s not about the thing…it’s about the result you get from the thing.
  7. IT’S ABOUT SELLING NOT TELLING: Marketing is about generating action and revenue, not describing the product or solution.…it’s about connecting the customer’s needs with your product benefits.
  8. INACTION IS THE BIGGEST COMPETITOR, NOT A COMPANY:  People prefer not to act, so create dissonance with the status quo.
  9. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PAIN:  Understand what they worry about and show how your product eliminates that worry.
  10. FEATURES DON’T SELL…BENEFITS DO.  Benefits are advantages – faster, easier, better, cheaper.
  11. “CHEAPER” DOESN’T CREATE LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS: Loyalty is built on value, not price.
  12. PROVE IT:  Potential buyers don’t want to hear from you, they want to hear real, tangible results from their peers.
  13. UNDERSTAND THE SELLING ENVIRONMENT:  Every customer has a different problem, so “one size fits all” marketing won’t work.  Stratify your audiences by type, job title, industry, etc.
  14. UNDERSTAND THE MARKET ENVIRONMENT:  Some change in the universe is causing the need for a product like yours. Your messages must address this.
  15. FOCUS ON THE GAP:  What do buyers think they need versus what you think they need? Focus your marketing messages on bridging the gap.
  16. BE BRUTALLY HONEST:  What is the same as competitors, different but not important, and better & important?  If you drink your own Kool-Aid you’re screwed.