The demands on marketers can feel crushing ― you must be creative, innovative, and possess the superpower of transforming strategies into concrete results. It’s a tall order to fill, even for the most talented of marketers. At times, you may hit a rough spot. The marketing inspiration well may run dry. What then?
A dose of inspiration is often the ticket. And not just from anybody, but from some of the most brilliant minds in history ― such as Steve Jobs, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Walt Disney. Here are 11 inspirational quotes to rev you up and get your inner marketing genius back on track.
“ 1. It’s better to be a pirate than to join the Navy.” ―Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was constantly working to think differently about the products that he created. For example, when introducing the iPod, he didn’t talk about portability or how music could be taken anywhere. Instead, Jobs kept it simple and described the product as “1,000 songs in your pocket.”
Look at what your competitors are doing and then ask, “What would happen if we took the opposite direction?” This approach will help you start thinking differently about your marketing strategies.
“2. Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” ―Seth Godin
Companies of the past would create a product, develop an amazing design, and then eagerly release the product, hoping that it would become a hit. Godin recommends taking this classic crossing-fingers strategy and re-engineering it.
Marketers can speak with their customers, learn about their burning pains, and listen to them talk about the existing solutions on the market. What do they love, what do they hate, and what is missing? These valuable nuggets of information can be shared to create innovative products that customers will embrace. Discovering these preferences also makes marketing easier because knowledge helps you truly understand customers’ needs.
“3. Even when you are marketing to your entire audience or customer base, you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time.” ―Ann Handley
As marketers, we break our customers into segments, create accurate personas, and work hard to truly know them. But when writing content, Handley argues, there’s something important you must do: Speak to customers as if they were individuals. Don’t communicate like you’re giving a presentation or like you’re addressing a group ― but rather like the audience members are your friends, you’re having coffee, and you have something really amazing to tell them. Use this marketing inspiration, and your writing and marketing programs will instantly become more effective.
“4. I don’t know the rules of grammar … If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.” ―David Ogilvy
Ogilvy built an advertising empire that continues to thrive long after a single lifetime. He left us with some amazing nuggets of wisdom, and one of them is to use the language that our customers use daily. Every customer has a pain point ― something that burns like crazy and needs to be solved. Your product is the solution, but to effectively market and sell that solution, you need to start talking like your customers.
What websites do they visit, what books do they read, and what forums do they participate in? Find out and start making a list of the exact language they use to describe that problem, then use that language for your marketing inspiration, and your success will be amplified.
“5. Social media allows big companies to act small again.” ―Jay Baer
Large companies are incredibly powerful, yet they have a major challenge ― they often feel “too big” to their customers. This can alienate customers and make them feel like the big guys don’t understand them. Social media can change this and gives large companies the ability to act small at scale.
No matter the size of your organization, use social media to engage with your customers, learn their greatest challenges, and provide answers to their problems when they need them most. When developing a social media strategy, think in terms of “How can this strategy make us feel more accessible and available to our customers?”
“6. It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than by doubling your traffic.” ―Bryan Eisenberg
Do you want to drive more sales? If so, you aren’t alone ― this is a goal of many marketers. But when creating strategies to meet this goal, you may start thinking, “We need more traffic to the website to generate greater conversions.” Eisenberg points out an important strategy: Shift thinking away from traffic ― and concentrate more on conversion rates.
This single shift in thinking could transform your company’s business. Once conversion rates increase, then you can go after more traffic, with each visitor who arrives having a higher chance of a conversion.
“7. Do one thing every day that scares you.” ―Eleanor Roosevelt
Marketers tend to be bold, creative, adventurous, and ready to try new strategies … but it’s also easy to get stuck in “safe mode.” Maybe you have a few tried-and-true marketing strategies, and they work great. You pay attention to new ideas, but you’re hesitant to try anything truly different. When you stay open to groundbreaking marketing strategies and aren’t afraid to test ones that scare you, you open up the possibilities of discovering something amazing.
“8. If you’re not failing now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything innovative.” ―Woody Allen
Failure is not fun. It feels terrible, like you wasted time and now you have to start over. Resetting this “always avoid failure at all costs” mindset, however, can be a game-changer for marketers.
Avoid thinking about failure as a personal hit, and instead, think of it as an experiment ― or a test. You didn’t try a new marketing strategy and fail. Instead, you ran a test and discovered that approach does not work. So, you test another tactic. The greatest geniuses in history failed ― and they failed frequently. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
“9. The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” ―Tom Fishburne
A century ago, marketing was easy to recognize because it felt like marketing. But today, there’s content marketing, social media, and so many other avenues for understanding customers, all of whom prefer to be spoken with rather than to. They don’t want to talk about products; they want to talk about problems.
Brainstorm ideas on how that next marketing campaign can feel less like marketing and more like a friend is reaching out to serve as a valuable resource.
“10. I suppose my formula might be: Dream, diversify, and never miss an angle.” ―Walt Disney
Walt Disney’s newspaper editor told the aspiring cartoonist that he wasn’t creative enough. Disney was also fired from the Kansas City Star because the editor said that he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” We can laugh at this now because Disney clearly demonstrated this wasn’t true. But here is the point for marketers: If you ever make a marketing mistake that feels really big ― don’t worry. Diversify, and try a new angle to come up with innovative strategies.
“11. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” ―Henry Ford
Marketing is changing fast, and the customers we serve are constantly evolving; demands and needs are always in flux. Marketers who want to keep up must refuse to stand still.
Sign up for a few brilliant marketing-related newsletters, keep up with changes that are happening ― and commit to learn something new each week. Select a few topics you’d like to master and commit to continuing to learn, which will make you invaluable at both your trade and your company.
Finding Inspiration in Your Work
There are days when marketing feels like play ― it’s fun and exciting ― but on other days it’s just hard. You must have a split personality, one minute thinking like a savvy marketer and the next like a specific customer persona. Great creativity is required, as is the boldness not to fear starting over when a strategy isn’t working.
Tapping into the genius of marketing legends helps you break through when you get stuck, digging deeper and forging new paths and strategies. Find your favorite quotes, post them for marketing inspiration ― and turn to them the next time your creative well runs dry.