Back when I started my career in marketing, I would often try to please everyone. Requests would come my way from colleagues, management, and partners for campaigns and I would eagerly set about responding and fulfilling them. But, as the adage goes, you can’t please all of the people all the time. Not long after I started, I realized that I needed to learn how to set expectations. In other words, I had to learn to say no. It’s not easy, but in marketing, you have to use your skills and instinct and follow your own agenda and do what you believe is right. Time has taught me a valuable lesson: every time you say yes to someone else’s request, you’re saying no to something else. It is important to know what you're agreeing to.
Here are 25 other things I wish I knew when I started out in marketing.
The most important goal is sales.
The importance of engagement is undeniable, but marketing that does not drive sales is irrelevant.
Take care of demand generation and let the brand take care of itself.
Many tech businesses spend a large portion of their marketing dollars on branding and rebranding. This is often at the expense of other important areas. It's essential to invest in programs, outreach and driving demand to win customers rather than believe they will come to you just because you have a new color scheme or logo.
Test, test (and test again).
Whether it’s an email campaign or a piece of work around optimization, it’s imperative that you test your work before launching it. You might want to even wait a few days to make sure there are not any bugs in the system.
Build bonds with your customers.
Your customers are human beings with marketing dollars, not the other way around. Get to know them and encourage them to tell their stories. Building advocates of your offering will become the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.
Analyze campaign effectiveness and react accordingly.
Quickly determine what works and what doesn’t. Track your open, click-through and conversion rates. Find out what drives sales and concentrate on that.
It’s not all lunches and logos.
Though marketing can sound glamorous, the reality is that there's a lot of work that goes into making a business successful. Most of the marketing professionals I have worked with have been some of the hardest-working people I have ever encountered. Yes, the business is exciting, and there are perks, but thinking you'll be schmoozing over a tasting menu every week would be a mistake.
Grammar, spelling and punctuation matter.
There are some who think this is overrated, but they are wrong. A marketer should be able to write clear and correct English. No excuses. No emojis. Keep all communication professional, friendly and clean.
Make sure every interaction has a clear call-to-action.
Take time to ensure that every marketing touchpoint encourages your audience to do something that makes them engage further with you.
Be very clear.
If your message is not straightforward, you’re missing the point. You may get it, but if it is verbose, long-winded and full of hyperbole, then other people won’t. Additionally, pay attention to the way you deliver your message. Following the new trend of overly-familiar opening lines and follow-ups will inevitably cost you clients.
Invest in a good content strategy.
We live in an interconnected digital world where potential buyers want to self-inform and self educate before they engage. Make sure you create and syndicate sufficiently good and engaging content that prospects can easily find.
Everyone has an opinion and is a marketer.
As a marketing professional, you will be surrounded by people who believe that theirs is the best idea and wonder why you’re not executing on it. Again, follow your own agenda.
It’s OK to say no.
I want to reiterate that marketing is there to serve the business, not be its slave. Make sure you do what you believe to be the right thing and not just what someone in another team wants.
Stop using the word “awesome.”
There is nothing wrong with the word itself but it is so overused that it has lost its true significance. The view of the Cinque Terre in Italy may be awesome, but drinking a cup of coffee at 10 am is not. Better still, invest in a good thesaurus.
Stop with the clichéd phrases.
Using the expressions “let’s leverage our core beliefs,” “inflection points” and “paradigm shifts” do not make you a good marketer. Write like a normal human being and don’t play the buzzword bingo game.
Turnover is vanity; profit is sanity.
Don’t get caught in the sales and marketing game of driving revenue for revenue sake unless it translates into tangible profits.
It’s OK to fail.
Not every campaign will be successful. Don't beat yourself up for making mistakes. It’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Just make sure you "fail fast" and learn from it.
Constantly ask the question: “So what?”
Yours may be a great solution or the best service, but what does that mean to a prospective customer? Talk business benefits rather than list technical advantages.
Get to know the product or solution you’re marketing.
Take some time to understand your product inside and out. Get to know its strengths and weaknesses. How else can you truly understand what you’re selling or sell it effectively?
Make sure you let colleagues know about the great marketing plans, campaigns, and activities that are going on. Everyone in a business can then help promote what is going on and help the cause.
Organization is key.
Marketing is all about deadlines, so make sure you’re prepared. Whether you use pen and paper or online tools, it’s important to spend time setting out clear objectives and mapping out how you are going to get there.
Know how to handle stress.
Stress is inevitable in any position, but panicking about every little thing isn't going to do you any favors. Don't allow your stress to become a distraction without a purpose. Breathe and remember that tomorrow is another day. Relax and get a decent night’s sleep.
Your work will never be done.
Marketing is an ongoing task and there will always be room for improvement, so learn to accept this and act accordingly.
Don’t underestimate the power of social media in the tech space.
This is a place where you should focus on engagement and interactions rather than broadcasting your offering. Use the platforms to have a conversation with interested prospects and talk to them on a personal level.
Don't disregard the power of direct mail.
In a world we are deluged with offerings via email, there has never been a greater need to revisit the effectiveness of communicating via post. From personal experience, I am more likely to sit down and open physical mail and read it and just mass delete emails that scream advertising.
Finally, take care of yourself.
Cut down on the caffeine and stay hydrated with water throughout the working day. Eat a healthy lunch and take a break now and then. Small efforts will keep you alert as the day progresses and make you work more productively. Give your best work and know when to shut down for the day.
Are you a marketing professional? What do you wish you knew when you started out? Tweet to us at @EXASOLAG.