I had a great conversation with a good friend over coffee the other day. During the conversation, he asked me to name some of my “marketing heroes.” The question kind of caught me off guard. I felt like I should rattle off a list of current icons in the industry. Names like Godin, Sinek, Vaynerchuk, and Kawasaki should easily come to mind. Truth is, they didn’t. Instead, I started to reflect on historical figures whose advice and approach to life have left an indelible imprint on my marketing mind.
As I started to list off names, we both began to realize the value in the collective wisdom of those who have gone before us. That realization spurned a desire to dig deeper into who these figures were, and how their advice can inform our efforts to build compelling and successful campaigns. I’d like to share the wisdom of some of these folks with you in kind of a series, if you will. Maybe we should call it “Historical Icons of Marketing” or something clever like that, but I’d like to avoid the cheesiness if at all possible. And, quite honestly, I can’t really think of a series title I like. For now, we’ll take it on a “post-by-post” basis and see what develops.
Our first historical case study comes from a founding father… none other than Benjamin Franklin.
Ben was my kind of guy. A renaissance man. He did more in one lifetime than I could hope to accomplish in several. He was a master at most things he set his mind to. A quick Google of the man will reveal a jaw-dropping list of awesomeness. Not only was Franklin a catalyst for organizing America into a nation and the man credited with discovering electricity, he also excelled at writing, inventing, science, and a laundry list of other enviable talents. Not to mention the man’s face is on the $100 bill, which trumps pretty much anything that any of us will ever do or accomplish in our short time here on planet earth.
In today’s fast-paced world, it is very unusual to find a person who excelled as much as the “First American.” So what was it that made Franklin so successful? I think his success was due to a very simple trait that Franklin often mentioned in his writing. He showed up every day, and worked hard, period. It was his consistency and diligence that paid off.
“Diligence is the mother of good luck.” – Ben Franklin
What Franklin is saying in this quotation is that you make your own good luck, which I believe to be true in marketing.
I will admit that we love it when a client asks for a bold idea that will “revolutionize” their marketing or turn on an endless supply of attention and leads. It is this desire to make a splash that gets folks fired up and really excited about a campaign. You can see a sparkle in their eye when they want to go big.
I love that spark.
I also know that there is so much more to it. What folks forget is that marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is a “bring your lunch pail to work and work hard every day” scheme. Sure, we fancy ourselves as savvy marketers that can come up with cute and funny campaigns that get real results, but what most folks don’t see is the sweat and toil that goes into making those clever little marketing campaigns succeed.
A great viral video does not happen without hours of work. It has to have a great concept and story that will really resonate with the target audience. Most importantly, it needs a team of folks focused on the nitty-gritty. Even once the video is produced, it takes a grinding, dedicated, diligent effort to make it succeed. No great marketer ever gets lucky. They work their fingers to the bone on a solid campaign and then reap the benefits that come from that effort. As I think about my team and the efforts we put in, I’m proud.
I’m proud of the really brilliant ideas that our creative folks come up with, but most importantly I’m proud of the diligence that we put into each and every campaign and client.