Tomorrow is my 27th birthday and while my grandmother told me it was never appropriate for a lady to talk about her age, I thought I would share 27 of the most important marketing lessons I've learned along the way.
A few years ago getting older was a daunting thing. I was in my mid-20s tending bar with a terrifying fear that I had no idea where I was going with my life. Then I slowly started down the path that led me to my current marketing position.
In the journey that has gotten me thus far in my career, I have learned all kinds of stuff about marketing, myself and what I value.
Without further ado, here are 27 of my favorite marketing lessons:
Don’t market to people how you want to market to people. Communicate with your target market in the way they want to be communicated with.
Do what you have to do, to do what you want to do. My sister always used to say this. I have found that sometimes my job presents me with tasks I don't always want to do, but, if I do them and do them efficiently and effectively, I have time to try new things or work on preferred tasks.
Be genuine as a person to the people you work with and work for, and be genuine in your marketing. You're a person, use the basic elements of humanity to connect with others.
'It ain’t what you go it’s what you make.' ~Shovels and Rope. A line from a favorite song of mine that works well with marketing. It's not the money you make, it's the value of what you offer that really matters.
Try everything. Trying new marketing tactics is always a worthwhile endeavor. However, make sure you are measuring results to determine if what you are trying is working or not.
Analyze. Measure and analyze data. Know from day one what you will be measuring and what will indicate if something is working or not.
Admit when you are wrong. Don’t be afraid to say you failed. People are so scared to tell clients that something didn’t work. Taking accountability is always the best option even if it's difficult.
Don’t let your job take over your life. Often times I still get waves of anxiety if I feel like I'm not working more hours or doing more to get more business, but, like they say, it's not worth it. Take as many hours as it requires for you to do what you think is best for you.
Place value on what's really important. As I'm far from home, I have lots of pictures of my friends and family around when I'm working. I find it's much easier to let things go when I can quickly glance up and remember the love I have in my life and how, at the end of the day, that makes me richer and more successful than any marketing account ever will.
Say yes to new networking opportunities even if you don't feel they will pan out into something. You never know who you will meet or what kind of connection you can gain from meeting someone new, be it a friend, a colleague or a new client.
Mistakes happen. Especially typos! Learn from the big ones and don't harp on the little ones.
Real-time engagement is essential to an effective social media strategy. Twitter is probably the best tool for real-time social media engagement.
You can’t do everything. In the past year, we hired two people at the agency to assist in our inbound marketing endeavors. Giving up control of certain projects and day-to-day tasks was difficult for me at times. Knowing how to delegate is essential and still something I'm learning!
Take risks. Don't be afraid to do or say what no one else is. If you believe in it, follow your heart.
Say thank-you. Thank people who engage with your content online. I've gotten some of the nicest compliments from complete strangers about my writing on social media. I think it's important to let those people know how impacting those kind words are.
Take breaks. Sometimes I don’t tweet anything for days. Life happens. It’s okay to make time for the more important things. Furthermore, I find when you take breaks you really check in with yourself. Do you still like what you do? Do you believe in what you're selling?
Outbound marketing doesn't really work. It's certainly not worth the money.
Celebrate the little things. Don't lose sight of the bigger picture and your bigger goals, but if you don't celebrate the accomplishments along the way, if you don't enjoy the ride, what's the point?
People will try to bring you down and be negative. Don't let them. With social media there is this new type of bullying and criticism that can come from cowardly people sitting behind a computer screen. Don't lash out at these people and don't take the negativity to heart.
Appreciate the people that work for you. Be thankful for the people who help you get your job done. After all, it really wouldn't be possible without them.
Saying 'good job' goes a long way, especially when you aren't even directly involved in a project. Recognizing other's work, even competitors at times, is a humble, admirable quality to posses.
Don't take credit for something you didn't do. A lot of times not everyone sees all the details involved in a marketing project. Even if you're overseeing the whole project, and someone notes a positivie detail or idea that wasn't your own, make sure you give credit to those who deserve it.
All the marketing in the world won’t fix a lousy product.
Being a good writer is incredibly valuable. I still LOVE writing. I’m so happy I majored in journalism. I thought that I would never be able to "use my journalism degree." But I get to every day. What's more, I find I can continuously be improving.
Don’t think you’re better than the masses, especially on social media. I see twitter users never reply or engage with tweets they're mentioned in. I like to think of this as being "socially snobby."
Choose not to do things. This was taken from Arianna Huffington's Inbound 2013 keynote. She talked about how she just chose she wasn't going to do certain things she kept putting off. This is an awesome motto when applied to marketing as well. If you keep saying you are going to do certain marketing tactics but they keep getting pushed to the side because they lack priority, then maybe it's time to write them off altogether and harness your focus on the things that require priority.
Lastly, make your own rules. Start with deciding what you value, put those things first and go from there.I have no idea how it’s all going to work out for me as an independent consultant. There are ups and downs every day, but I’m doing the best I can and I believe in what I do!