The Gibbs Guide to Marketing
I’m a big fan of the CBS show “NCIS,” and an even bigger fan of team leader Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. He’s prickly and prone to back-of-the-head slapping, but he’s also a potential source of great inspiration for marketers.
Gibbs lives his life by a set of rules, a personal code. Over 50 of those rules have been revealed throughout the show’s nine seasons, but six of them ring true for marketers, business owners, and employees.
Rule #5 - You don’t waste good
I’d rephrase this rule as “Don’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good.’ ” Whether you’re writing a blog post, filming and editing a video, creating a whitepaper, designing a website or developing a product, don’t let the fear of its not being perfect keep you from producing something that is good, or great.
Humans aren’t perfect, and what they create can’t be either. If you spend all your time striving to create one perfect anything, you’ll never have a finished product. You’ll never have a solid foundation on which you can build future improvements.
It’s better to try creating something and falling short of the ideal, than to keep trying for perfection and never create anything.
Rule #15 - Always work as a team
Two (or more) heads are better than one. If you’ve got access to a team, make use of that access. Brainstorm ideas, discuss problems, and figure out solutions together. Celebrate personal and business success, and be sympathetic when a team member experiences a loss.
Rule #3 - Don’t believe what you’re told. Double check.
If your new social media consultant says they’ve quadrupled other clients’ social media leads, ask for those clients’ contact information. If your new hire says they increased their previous employer’s profit margin, call the employer. If your marketing team says the new marketing strategy isn’t working, double-check their reports. Don’t take what you hear at face value, especially when it comes to your marketing efforts.
Rule #36 - If you feel like you’re being played, you probably are
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. If someone promises results that seem impossible, be wary.
Rule #51 - Sometimes you’re wrong
As much as it sucks to be called out for doing something wrong, it’s an important learning experience and—if handled well—a chance to redeem your company’s standing in consumers’ eyes.
Refusing to acknowledge a mistake (or actively trying to cover it up) will bring you nothing but trouble. Remember last year’s Ocean Marketing PR bloodbath? Everyone else does, too.
Rule #45 - Clean up the mess you make
After you recognize and acknowledge a mistake, be honest when responding to complaints, issue an apology (if necessary), and do your best to make it right.
Are any of these rules part of your personal marketing code? What would you add?
More on marketing
- The Three Musketeers and Marketing
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- Lessons in Inbound Marketing: Choral Performance
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