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Marketing tips

Why read this? : We round up our favourite marketing tips to smarten up your marketing. Boost your marketing B.R.A.I.N.S. with tips on brand focus, resilience, analytics, innovation, not being an asshole, and sales orientation. Read this for tips on how to master marketing. 

Marketing tips

How this guide raises your game :-

1. Learn the marketing tips which underpin our marketing B.R.A.I.N.S. model.

2. Explore how these behaviours and attitudes can grow your business.

3. Find out how to get the best out of people to make your marketing even better.

Sometimes you’re lucky and get to work with and learn from people who have mastered the craft of marketing.

But other times, you end up working with people completely unsuited to working in marketing. 

So what makes master marketers stand out? And how do you stop yourself from being one of the duds? 

We’ve gathered this list of marketing tips to help answer those questions. 

Skills and approaches which will make you a marketing asset, rather than a marketing ass. Many of whom you’ll unfortunately come across in marketing. (See also our tips on digital marketing guide and our where to focus your marketing brain article for more on this topic).

Close up of mans hand resting on a large tree

Ready to test your knowledge?

What’s your starting level of knowledge about marketing tips?

Take the 2 minute, 5 question Three-Brains marketing tips quiz and see how much you know about marketing tips already.

The Marketing B.R.A.I.N.S. model 

Like every good marketer, we always want our message to reinforce our brand identity. And to be unique, distinctive and memorable. That’s why we made our marketing tips into this B.R.A.I.N.S. model :-

  • B for brand focus.
  • R for resilience.
  • A for analytics.
  • I for innovation.
  • N for not an asshole.
  • S for sales-orientation.

B - brand focus

The marketing process starts with the customer. But the value of it comes from building brilliant brands

Look at the BrandZ study we reference in our brand development process guide, for example.

Companies with strong brands outperform the average of all companies by a factor of 3

Think about that. Imagine what your business would feel like with a 3x better profit and loss. Because that’s what brand focus does for your business. 

2007 to 2017 Line Grab showing Brand Z Strong brands grew 124.9%, S&P500 brands grew 82.1% and MSCI brands grew 34.9%

It delivers that because strong brands make life easier and better for your target audience. You make it easier to identify your brand, work out what it does, and what it can do for them. (See our brand development guide for more on this).

But remember, customers still come first. And they don’t spend all day thinking about your brand. Only brand managers do that. However, a strong brand identity and positioning built over time creates a strong mental connection with customers. Your great branding makes it easier for them to choose you. 

Great branding

When that customer gets a promotion at work and wants to splash out on a luxury new car, it’s the BMW, Audi or Mercedes logo that pops into their head.

That’s great branding.

When that customer is in a dimly-lit nightclub and can’t read the labels on the bottles behind the bar, but they order a Jack Daniels or an Absolut vodka, because they recognise the shape of the bottle.

That’s great branding, too.

Mercedes logo badge with three pointed start on bonnet of a car

And when that entrepreneur and aspiring marketer is looking for cleverly crafted coaching and consulting to raise their marketing game? Well, they know to come to Three-Brains, obviously! (Forgive the shameless plug. But we have to mention our own brand when we’re talking about branding).

R - resilience

There’s no doubt you need a tough skin to work in marketing. Driving change is hard. Customers are fickle. And everyone has an opinion on marketing. You need resilience to deal with all this on a day-to-day basis.

Driving change is hard

Marketers discover customer needs and persuade and organise the rest of the business to meet those needs. But typically, customer needs change quicker than businesses do.

As a marketer, you’re always trying to drive change, but spend a lot of time taking on barriers to that change. (We go into this in depth in our marketing barriers and e-Commerce barriers articles).

For example, on new products. On improving the customer journey, and updating the marketing mix to better connect with customers. But they often run into critics and people who fear creativity.

People who like things the way they are. Who want to protect the status quo. People who usually sit on approval committees and block what marketers want. 

Marketers often get pushback on their plans from the rest of the business. So being able to keep going, to be resilient is critical to succeeding.

Running track with hurdles set up for a sprint race

There’s a great quote in Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma which sums up how tough it is driving change. You always know who the pioneers are, they’re the ones with arrows in their back”. This explains why marketers need resilience to work in marketing.

Customers are fickle

And on the topic of favourite expressions, one of our recent favourites about marketing was …

it’d be a lot more fun if only the bloody customers would do what they’re supposed to”.

Yes, you know it’s important to understand customers. To listen to and anticipate their needs and create great customer experiences to meet those needs. But, sometimes things which should work, don’t. Mistakes happen

Because customers are only human at the end of the day. Though we all like to think we’re logical and rational, sometimes we do things which don’t make sense. 

Blond woman partially hidden behind a leafy bush

As the famous book says, the only thing you can say with certainty about customers is they’re predictably irrational. Sure, behavioural science might help you get it right more often, but not every time. 

So, resilience gets you through those times when the market research says “yes”,  and the target audience then doesn’t buy. It gets you through when your advertising and media have no impact, but that throw-away Friday afternoon social post goes viral.

Everyone has an opinion on marketing

Finally, on resilience, you have to put up with everyone having an opinion on marketing. An opinion on what you do, and how you do it. 

Whether they have qualifications and experience or not, everyone will be happy to tell you where you’re going wrong. How they’d do it better. 

Unlike traditional professions like medicine or accountancy, the ‘rules’ of marketing aren’t black and white.

Very few people would challenge an expert medical diagnosis or financial statement. But everyone feels happy to challenge marketing expertise.

Boy with short hair shouting into microphone in a plain white room

It’s partly because marketing’s about customers, and everyone’s a customer at the end of the day. So, they comment on what your packaging looks like. If your advertising‘s any good. What would improve your customer experience.

So marketing resilience helps you stay patient and restore your energy. Market research will help add more certainty to your marketing, but you still often have to deal with marketing decision-making being subjective. 

So, get a thick skin. You’ll need it.

A - analytics

Marketers have to be insanely curious about everything. And especially about customers.

But you also need the sort of mind which can pull together lots of different bits of information to make new insights from them. Great marketers are analytical

As a marketer, you should love getting into the nitty gritty of gathering and analysing your marketing data.

Whether that’s sitting behind a 1-way mirror watching strangers talk about your brand in focus groups. Or trawling through quantitative research data to find that new emerging trend that’ll boost your marketing.

You should take every opportunity you can to work on market research projects. To attend interviews or focus groupsRead blogs, books and industry websites to see what people are talking about in your categoryJoin mailing lists of relevant publications and follow key opinion leaders on their social media feeds.

Get under the skin of your customers by experiencing life from their point of view. 

Be observant

Being analytical starts with being observant. What’s going on with customers around you right now? How do they talk? What do they say about brands and businesses? What’s of interest which could motivate, inspire and engage them?

Keep asking questions about your customers and you’re off to a great start at being a better marketer. But, the true skill in analysis is what you do with all this info. Gathering and reviewing the data is only the start of the process. Great analysis skills help you connect customers and what you know about them to your brand identity and brand activation.

I - innovation

We already mentioned resilience comes from the need to drive change. And that change usually means being great at innovation, which is the next of our marketing tips.

Marketing innovation can be a tough process.

Creative thinking is a fundamental skill where the best marketers really stand out.

That’s open-mindedness to generating new ideas and going out and testing them. That awareness to spot great ideas from outside the business. Great marketers find innovative ideas and turn them into opportunities.

Yellow post it with illustration of a lightbulb pinned to a wooden pin board

Change the game

The best marketers know how to change the game. They’re not satisfied with the status quo. They look for the cutting edge, the new, the outside the box and the just different way to do things.

In most categories, growth comes from companies that are innovative. As per our marketing innovation guide, all products have a natural life cycle which eventually leads to decline. So, it’s part of the marketer’s job to create new products and services to meet customer needs and grow the business. 

Of all our marketing tips, this is the one you should push the hardest as it helps with all the other marketing tips. 

N - not an asshole

We have to admit, we struggled with “N” for our B.R.A.I.N.S. acronym of marketing tips.

“Numerical” was one option. Numbers are important in marketing. But we already had analytical on our list and felt that already covered numerical. So, we went a little innovative ourselves, and came up with “not an asshole”.

To be honest, we borrowed this from the NZ All Blacks rugby team, probably the most successful sports team in the world. They have a rule that, they work as one unified team. No star players. No prima donnas. They work towards the collective goal. Anyone who’s an asshole doesn’t last in the team. They shape up or they ship out. (See our read like a polymath article for more on this). 

Marketers who fail the test

Sadly, we’ve met lots of marketers who’d fail this test. 

The ones who call themselves strategists for a start. And as per our marketing personality types article, there are all sorts of annoying behaviours in marketing. 

The ones who talk all the time and never listen. Those aggressive Type A personalities who steamroll over everyone else. And yes, the ones who kill you with PowerPoint and never make decisions.

You have to work around the politics of these behaviours to overcome barriers to marketing in your business. 

Man in a red T-shirt looking frustrated and angry

Marketing to non-marketers

And then there’s the way marketers engage other functions.

Marketers often have a blind spot on how they market themselves. For example, marketing has a lot of jargon and terminology. This confuses and annoys non-marketers. 

So the penultimate of our marketing tips is to focus on how not to sound like a marketer all the time. Because, often that makes you sound like an ass, not an asset.

In many cases as a marketer, you have to work with other functions or agencies who don’t think the way you do.

Woman standing on stage telling a story to a large seated audience

Work out how to convey your message in simple, clear terms. It’s key to getting others to buy into your plan. (See our marketing to non-marketers article for more on this). 

And even with all this, you still have to factor in the more general types of asshole behaviour you find in some businesses. For example, the managers who play politician rather than business leader. The ones so focused on their career progression, they don’t care who gets in the way. 

Here’s the thing for a marketer, though. We think the brands you develop reflect the way you think and work. So, if there’s a whiff of asshole behaviour about you, then the same will be true for your brand. 

Nobody’s perfect. But we’ve found most average to mediocre brands are run by assholes. The best brands are run by great teams who don’t tolerate assholes.

S - sales orientation

There’s little worse than the marketer who thinks sales is a dirty word.

At the end of the day, marketers have to make commercial decisions about where and how to spend the company’s money. And if that money doesn’t convert to sales, the marketer hasn’t done their job. Not by a long shot. 

Strong brands which connect with customers and deliver profitable sales growth are where marketing makes its mark on the business. 

Podium with first second third places, and wish you were here box in number one

Have your eye on the end goal

So the last of our marketing tips is to always have your eye on the end goal. And that’s sales.

You can talk purpose and vision all you like. But, life’s much better when you’re looking at sales charts showing double-digit growth. believe us.

So, be sales orientated. Own your sales forecasts. Be across the whole profit and loss. Set your pricing strategy. Decide when and how often (if at all) you run price promotions. Make sure your product looks good on a product page so it converts to a sale. Get familiar with the creative process and how to use key principles in design, colour, typography, writing, photography and video to drive sales. And look at your different trade channels including the exciting growth opportunities in e-Commerce. All key ways to help you hit your end goal, more sales. 

Phew.

It’s a lot to take in. Your B.R.A.I.N.S. probably hurt just thinking about it. But following those 6 marketing tips – brand focus, resilience, analytics, innovation, not an asshole and sales orientation, puts you well on your way to being a great marketer.

Conclusion - marketing tips

Marketing is constantly changing. You must use your marketing brain to think about what you need to change. So, take the time to build in regular reviews. What’s working for you and what isn’t? What new things do you need to learn, and what’s becoming less relevant?

This type of smart thinking can make all the difference to your marketing success.

(See also our how to be a better marketer, the life cycle of a marketer and where to focus your marketing brain articles for more smart marketing tips). 

Three-Brains - coaching and consulting marketing tips

We’ve worked on many marketing projects and have good experience across all aspects of marketing. If you want to build your marketing expertise to drive more sales, we coach and consult on how to build better marketing competence and confidence. 

Get in touch to discuss more personalised marketing tips for your business via our coaching and consulting services.

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