Honing Your Marketing Skills

ike other professionals, marketers have certain personality traits that help determine
their level of success. While traits themselves are not tactics, developing the personality of a
good marketer is a powerful tactic.


The guru of guerrilla marketing, Jay Conrad Levinson, talks about the eight personality traits
that are common in all successful marketing professionals, with the first and most important being

Successful companies know marketing is an investment and make it a permanent line item in the
budget. One of the biggest obstacles to successful marketing is the process of continually changing
the marketing strategy. Many well-developed marketing campaigns are abandoned before they have a
chance to produce results.

The first to tire of your marketing message typically are your employees, family and friends.
They will advise you to change your ads, direct mail campaign or overall message because they’re
bored with them. This is when the second personality trait of a successful marketer kicks in.


Remember, your prospects are not bored with your marketing because they’ve likely still not
heard of you. They are not exposed to your marketing message every day. Develop the confidence to
tell those closest to you that you intend to stay the course despite their concerns.

Confidence can be a little tougher at the office. Oftentimes, companies develop an effective
marketing message that is used in advertising, but the public relations department heads off in
another direction, the sales department in another and the operations people in still another.

The only person who can keep everyone headed in the same direction is the CEO, and successful
marketers have the confidence and ability to assist the CEO in keeping everyone focused on the same
message for the necessary period of time. Companies that survive in a highly competitive
marketplace are patient and stay the course. They know a consistent, repetitive message is their
prime ally.


The third personality trait necessary for good marketers is imagination. This doesn’t mean you
have to be the best headline writer or graphic artist. It has more to do with offering ideas that
are unique. For example, one savvy marketer saw a way to assist a local charity and approach
clients the company had not worked with in a few years.

The company bought several books of raffle tickets being sold by a local nonprofit
organization to raise funds for a new facility. They sent the books of tickets to former customers
and asked them to distribute them to their employees for a chance to win a big-screen television.
The result was an effective platform to talk with former customers who called to say thank you and
express their excitement about the chance to win. It gave the company an opportunity to talk about
new products and recapture old business.


The fourth trait of successful marketers is sensitivity. Good marketers are keenly aware of the
economy, market conditions within their industry, the competition and their customers. They are
sensitive to the time of year, current events and especially what is on the minds of their
customers at any given moment.


The fifth trait is aggressiveness. Successful marketers are aggressive in their thinking and
their spending. They insist on doing more than the status quo. For example, when the US average is
4 percent of gross revenues spent on marketing, successful marketers invest 6, 8 or 10 percent.
They also know there are many free weapons in the marketing arsenal, and they vigorously pursue
them. They get involved in their community, join trade organizations to get to know their customers
in a different setting and network. They also read books on marketing, and scour the Internet and
magazines for new marketing ideas and techniques. Their thirst for knowledge is endless, and they
know they must stay abreast of the ever-changing world of communications.


The sixth trait of a successful marketing professional is energy. It was Benjamin Franklin who
said, “Energy and persistence alter all things.” It takes tremendous energy to turn new ideas and
techniques you constantly read about into action programs for your company.

People have one-way brains or two-way brains. Those that have one-way brains read books,
attend seminars, listen to tapes and take continuing education courses. They learn a great deal,
but it remains inside. People with two-way brains immediately turn their newly acquired knowledge
and wisdom into action, and action requires constant energy. Thinking but not doing prevents many
businesses from realizing profitability.


The seventh trait is generosity. Traditional salespeople consider what they can get from their
prospects; successful marketers think of what they can give. They know that they succeed when their
prospects and clients succeed. They don’t mind sharing valuable information in the form of
brochures, websites or trade articles.

Most successful marketers subscribe to the Law of Karma, or “what goes around comes around.”
You get what you give, and you attract what you resist.


The eighth trait of a successful marketer is action. In marketing, action is the purpose of the
exercise, not a spectator sport. Strategy meetings and marketing plans are a good and necessary
part of any marketing campaign, but a plan gathering dust on the shelf accomplishes nothing. The
act of doing something is the hallmark of successful marketers, but they do not confuse activity
with accomplishment. Their actions are well executed and in accordance with the established
branding strategy. They don’t stray from the message, and they don’t abandon the plan until its
scheduled conclusion.

Editor’s Note: Kathy Vass is the owner of Vass Markets Inc., a marketing and public relations
firm in Greenville.

March 2005