The 10 Commandments of Marketing
Marketing is an ever-changing business. Industry best practices come and go, but here are ten marketing commandments you should never break.
10. Don’t covet others’ success.
It’s easy to be envious of the success of people like Guy Kawasaki, Gary Vaynerchuk, and of companies like HubSpot — it seems like everything they touch turns to gold. But don’t get so caught up in envying someone else’s success that you forget to work toward your own. Do your own work and earn your own recognition.
9. Don’t lie.
If the numbers for your case study show that your attempt at something failed, don’t fudge the numbers in order to look good. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t make something up. If something is your fault, own up to it. Honesty will get you a lot further than lying.
8. Don’t plagiarize.
“Plagiarizing” is a fancy term for “stealing.” Definitely take inspiration from the latest market research, blogs, whitepapers, webinars, and ebooks, but remember that someone else worked hard on that content. If you use someone else’s content, give proper credit to the original author (including a link back, if applicable).
7. Be careful with whom you associate.
Beware conflicts of interest: if your newest prospective customer is the arch nemesis of your biggest client, there’s going to be friction. If you work with an SEO company that uses black hat tactics, you’re going to get caught.
6. Don’t kill the marketing department.
When times get tough, marketing is often the first thing crossed off the budget. And why not? It can cost a company tens of thousands of dollars to run advertisements in magazines, newspapapers, in the yellow page, or on television or radio. Instead of giving the entire department the axe, why not change the focus to inbound marketing? The cost per lead is 60% lower than with outbound marketing, and has the potential to make your business more successful than ever.
5. Listen to those who have come before you.
No matter how much you know, there’s almost always someone who knows more, or who has been in marketing longer than you. If you’re lucky to have one of these people as a co-worker or mentor, pick their brain, heed their warnings, and honor their advice. After all, they’ve been in the business for a long time for a reason.
4. Remember to take a break.
When working on a major project or trying to meet a deadline, it can be tempting to take a short lunch, or scarf a burger at your desk while you answer emails; Americans in particular are bad about working long hours, taking short lunches, and skimping on vacation time.
You may feel like you’re getting more done by working a little longer or later, but nothing feels worse than burn-out: you’re tired and frustrated, and your capacity for creative thought goes out the window. It’s important that you get time away from work — eat your lunch away from your desk, leave your work email alone over the weekends, and take advantage of your vacation days.
3. Keep it clean.
Cursing is acceptable in certain social situations — neither social media sites or blogs are examples of those situations. If you wouldn’t say it in front of a potential client you’ve just met, don’t say it on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or anywhere else.
Along those same lines, don’t use a blog or social media profile to drag your competition through the mud. Prove that you’re better than them by being better, not by starting a smear campaign.
2. Don’t idolize “gurus.”
If you meet someone who in all seriousness calls him or herself a “guru,” be suspicious; just because someone says they’re an expert, doesn’t mean they actually are. That consultant you hired can talk all he or she wants about “developing relationships” and “adding layers of transparency” to your company, but at the end of the day it’s all about generating sales and solving customers’ problems.
1. Don’t put marketing ahead of life.
This goes hand-in-hand with marketing commandment #4, but it’s important enough that it needs to be repeated. Nothing is more important than your health and happiness. Eat healthy, get good sleep, and never let work get in the way of living.
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