How To Be A Good Marketer, Not Just A Great One

Admittedly, my idea for the title came from the BBC show Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martine Freeman. These two clips come from the end of the first episode and the end of the last episode, years apart.

How To Be A Good Marketer, Not Just A Great One

Everybody in marketing deals at some point with the problem of having their campaigns not produce any results. Great marketers come up with awesome catchy and clever advertising slogans, fancy branded puns, or subtle jokes that have the potential to push huge volumes of product.

Or it has the potential to completely flop. To have spent a bunch of money on hours of design and production time, plus the media cost to run the tv and online ads, and then to have it not boost revenue at all is every marketers worst nightmare.

So what do we have to do to not only be a great marketer, but also a good one? A Marketer that can consistently deliver results, albeit maybe not record-breaking results, but consistent results that steadily grow companies’ revenue? And not only that, but a marketer who is a decent person in general; one who understands and empathizes with the world, and knows how to craft messages to speak to the world’s pain with a plan to lead them out of it?

I posit that marketers read too many business and leadership books and not enough of the classics. 7 Habits, EntreLeadership, Good to Great, etc. are all good books, but they aren’t original. We need to go back to the beginning if we’re really going to understand how to be good marketers, not just great ones.

What Are The Great Books?

I’m a StoryBrand Certified Guide, if that wasn’t clear across the site. If you’re familiar at all with StoryBrand, you’ll know that Donald Miller built a marketing framework out of what he calls “a 2000-year old model for telling stories.” For anybody is business, I definitely recommend going through the StoryBrand online course, but for those of us that want a more novel (and slower) approach to understanding stories and human nature, then let’s go back to the fundamentals of the stories from 2,000+ years ago. I’m talking about the Great Books of The Western World.

Since the dawn of time, humans have been passing along and building upon ideas. Ever heard of the car? That probably came from trying to remove the need for horses to move large carts. The cart? A way to move more items than a person normally can carry across distance using a bucket and wheels. The wheel? Credited as being one of the first ideas and inventions of man.

See how an idea can form and then be built upon? The same is true in the philosophical and psychological realm. If you’ve ever tangoed with the idea of free will vs. determinism, you’d trace the debate all the way to the gods intervening during the battles of the Trojan War, found in Homer’s The Iliad.

That’s where the Great Books begin, The Iliad and then The Odyssey. No matter whether you like them or not, there are plenty of lessons to learn that can be applied. (A lesson I took away from the Iliad was that on the brink or during war, the army/nation/house that breaks cultural norms the quickest will have the upper hand. See: Game of Thrones).

"I'm not going to swear an oath I can't uphold. When enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies." - Jon Snow

The quote has nothing to do with marketing (or does it?), and it’s besides the point. The point is this: if you want to be a good marketer, you have to be a person who understands more; to do that, you need to move from a place of understanding less about the world. The best way to do that is by actively reading.

I’m ready to start reading, but the books are old and pretty overwhelming.

Truly, they can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to get into groups that you can read along with. Whether it’s people on your block, a church group, local business leaders, your pickup basketball team, whatever it doesn’t matter. These books were meant to be accessible to anyone, and everyone.

If for some reason you can’t get a group going at home, then there are online groups. About the same time I started operating Rhythm, I joined an online program called Online Great Books, hosted by Intellectual Linear Progression. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself.

So here’s your plan: 1) join or start a group of readers, 2) start with The Iliad and move through the western canon, and 3) start understanding more.

This was supposed to be a blog on marketing, right?

Yes, and no. This is the first official blog post from a marketing and design company, and I wanted to be exceptionally clear with people that there is way more to life than being a great marketer. I’m not saying that these books will change your life or guarantee you’ll figure out how to sell that new line of product. But I do promise you this, you will understand more, and be more because you wrestled with these books.

So Here’s To Those That Understand Less.

May You Begin To Understand More.

Danny Knesek
Director of Rhythm Design Co.

P.S. If you want to receive a free marketing assessment, follow this link.

booksDanny Knesek