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30 years. 30 things I’ve learned in marketing. (21–30)
Welcome to the final installment of my "30 things in 30 years" blog. It was difficult to actually narrow down the list to 30 items, but I hope the things I’ve learned in my career can help others with theirs.
- Mock-ups save costly mistakes.
You know the saying "Build it and it will save you money." OK, that might not actually be the quote, but it’s the truth. Mock-ups can shine a light on a number of issues you just can’t see in layout. For everything from die problems to content-flow issues, a mock-up is a surefire way to avoid mistakes down the road.
- Don’t forget to budget the media deliverables.
It seems simple, right? But it’s a commonly overlooked cost. We tend to focus so much on the creation of a TV, radio or other piece that we forget in the end these items need to be sent to media outlets. And most of them have unique specs, which means someone has to create unique files, and that costs money.
- Does anybody remember a bounce-back card?
"Circle advertiser number 31" and we’ll send you info. Monthly trade magazines would send a stack of bounce-back card prospects on which you circled a number to request information. We would enter that info, develop the mailing list and send the client materials to the prospect. Old-time data collection, very well qualified.
- Routing makes the job better and saves money.
It’s the agency version of getting a medical second opinion. Each person in the agency has a specialty, be it design, production, copywriting or client insight. Everyone will have a different take on a creative piece, and routing that piece through the agency ensures that everyone who has a stake in that project has an opportunity to impact it, so in the end, it is the strongest piece it can be.
- Long nights and weekends are part of the job.
Don’t get into marketing if you want a 9-to-5 life. It’s a 10 p.m. public relations crisis, a Saturday 5K event, sitting up all night on a printing press to deliver a vital brochure for a 7 a.m. board meeting. The only thing you can be sure of in marketing is that anything can, and does, happen, and often it is not at a convenient time.
- Print is timeless.
Since human civilization has been able to communicate, there has been some form of "print." From paintings on cave walls that told the story of primitive villages, to 32-page four-color annual reports that tell the story of a company, print is not only timeless, but it’s embedded deep within our DNA.
- Young people have fresh ideas; I know, because I used to be one of them.
Ideas can come from anywhere, but there’s something about the energy youth brings to a project. Combine that enthusiasm with the seasoned knowledge of a veteran marketer and you’ll have the ability to create magic.
- Tell the truth, soon.
Bad things happen. People make mistakes. But the one mistake you should never make is not telling the truth. Whether it’s a missed deadline, the wrong paper stock or a critical typo, telling the truth immediately will always benefit you, and your client, in the long run.
- Proof everything, twice.
And speaking of critical typos, there’s nothing that can impact your credibility faster than one. We’ve all seen them. We’ve all missed them. But nothing says “I don’t pay attention to details” quite like a typo. Or seeing "Hay" rather than "Hey" on a billboard.
- Build strong relationships with your peers. As time goes on, they may become your greatest assets and/or your clients down the road.
At the end of the day, marketing is about people and people are about relationships. The bridges you build with vendors, co-workers and peers can be your most beneficial business tool. Today’s intern or vendor could be tomorrow’s client. Being professional and treating everyone with respect is not only good for your business, it’s simply the right thing to do.
There you have it, a small sampling of the things I’ve learned over the past 30 years. And the best part of my career is, I’ll be learning 30 more things, and that’s probably just today.