Biz Tips: I’ve Spent 35 Years Working In Marketing.

Biz Tips: I’ve Spent 35 Years Working In Marketing.


I’ve Spent 35 Years Working In Marketing.

I’ve Spent 35 Years Working In Marketing. Here’s What Every Young Marketer Should Know About Being Successful In The Industry

Although certain marketing best practices change and shift on an almost daily basis, there are select core competencies which will always remain relevant — regardless of what technology we have at our disposal.

I’ve worked in the industry for 35 years now with experiences in the food catalog business, in specialty marketing with Mattel and Hasbro, in the QVC and HSN world, and, of course, in the self-services publishing industry as president of BookBaby.

And what I’ve seen is that while the mediums have changed — there was once a time when toll-free 800 numbers and fax machines were considered exotic breakthroughs — what separates the great marketers from the average ones is an ability to communicate clearly how your products will benefit consumers.

This, ultimately, amounts to establishing purposeful and genuine relationships with your customers.

Here’s what young marketers need to know in order to do just that.

1) You have to be both a scientist and an artist.

Marketers must be intellectually dynamic, since this work requires a variety of skill sets. To write effective copy, you must be creative. To make use of data, you must be analytical.

Sure, some marketers get by specializing in either the creative side or the scientific side, but the best can do both.

The best, in other words, are generalists. And the reason is pretty simple. It doesn’t matter how brilliantly designed your website or advertisement is if you’re unable to determine the best strategy for getting it in front of customers. The same is true of the marketer who is great at reaching readers on the internet, but doesn’t know how to engage them once they land on their site.

2) You need to put the data to work.

This is where the analytical side of the marketing brain comes in handy. You must be able to use data to your advantage. It’s what will ensure you operate efficiently and intelligently in your outreach and recalibration strategies.

The first step is collecting the data as much as you can. Email addresses and phone numbers are great, but you also need data that illuminates the user’s behavior and preferences. To get that, you have to enlist every digital tactic you can think of. Track clicks and the amount of time users spend on your site or viewing your ads with Google Analytics and dedicated URLs.

All-star marketers, across the board, make this a priority.

One of the reasons is because data allows you not only to devise outreach more efficiently, but to measure the ultimate effectiveness of your individual campaigns. There’s wisdom and insight in those numbers.

This has always been the case, but the good news is that collecting data is now much easier. There’s no excuse not to do it.

3) You must test everything.

On that note, great marketers never just create one campaign and collect data on it. Rather, they embrace a more inherently iterative mindset, and set forth to constantly test everything.

At BookBaby, we test the subject lines of every email we send out to determine which variation garners the most opens and clicks. We do the same with calls to action, determining: do CTA buttons work best in emails? Do the pop-up messages we show users before they leave the site succeed in keeping them online? Do users seem to be interested in 10% off their next order?

For every single thing you do, you must analyze and evaluate in a rigorous testing environment. That allows you the insight you need to stop doing what doesn’t work and to double down on what is. That’s working smart, which is a requisite in this field.

4) Great marketers invest in their writing skills.

Now, of the artistic imperatives related to marketing, certainly none is more important than the ability to write clearly and in a style that connects with your customers.

Beyond that, great marketers have the ability to express or articulate potentially complicated ideas, products, or processes in a way that’s not only easy to understand, but also engaging.

The folks who can do this are the ones who will truly succeed in this field. But, of course, great writers are not simply born. There’s a talent aspect, sure, but great writers invest in their skill. They write every day. They test their writing with audiences. And, most importantly, they read carnivorously.

If you want to be an elite marketer, study books on marketing and copywriting in particular. Read widely and deeply, and as often as you can.

5) You must take the time to do surveys and research.

Beyond collecting and analyzing data, great marketers also conduct research to get a sense of how they’re performing in relation to competitors in the industry.

One way to do this is by sending out surveys to customers in which you ask things like:

  • Which companies do you prefer buying from in this field or industry?
  • Is there something about that company that makes them an attractive partner?
  • What do you look for in those companies?

This is another means of collecting data, but it’s surprisingly effective. It lends you a different kind of insight, which ends up being very important — it proves another way to measure your effectiveness and determine which sorts of internal changes might be in order, for example.

Ultimately, the Golden Rule of marketing is this: benefits, not features.

At the end of the day, all the data you collect, copy you write, and campaigns you publish need to do the one simple thing I hinted at above: communicate how your product or service is going to benefit the customer on the other end.

This will always be true, no matter whether you’re communicating with readers via Snapchat or in The New York Times. The analytical and creative skills great marketers all possess — and work continuously to maintain — must be employed in service of that golden imperative.

If you’re just starting out in this field today, that very well might be the most important thing you should always remain cognizant of.

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