Masterful marketers do things differently — do you?

There's a reason why certain people succeed. They aren't living the "average" life. How can you imitate this to become a better marketer?

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Poor and wealthy. Failure and success. Negativity and positivity. The difference between these isn’t as big as you may think. In most cases, we’re all just one good or bad decision away from falling on the other end of the spectrum. So when you see other marketers who are absolutely killing it, the good news is that you can too.

Masterful marketers merely do a few things differently. Once you see what they are, you’ll realize that you can implement them in your own career.

How to become a better marketer

The idea of becoming a “better” marketer is totally subjective. Are you trying to increase your salary? Enhance the value of your brand? Land a new career opportunity? Unique steps precede each of these outcomes.

When you look at the big picture, though, and study people who consistently excel in the field of marketing, it becomes apparent they understand the following concepts.

1. The early bird gets all of the worms

Have you heard of Timothy Sykes? Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve probably seen his face online. He’s a self-made millionaire who famously turned a few thousand dollars of Bar Mitzvah money into a couple million dollars by trading penny stocks. And while he’s an ultra successful trader, he’s an even better marketer.

Sykes has created an online brand and persona that’s in-your-face and over-the-top, yet surprisingly magnetic and charming. His brand is all about becoming wealthy and enjoying the fruits of your labor. And while he is quick to offer lots of advice on different marketing and branding matters, he’s a firm believer in simplicity. For example, Sykes has found waking up early to be one of the best things you can do for your career.

“All I’m asking is that you give it a try,” Sykes tells his students. “Get up early for a week, and use that extra time to improve yourself in some way, whether that’s reading, studying, networking or something else. If, after a week, you really haven’t seen a difference, you have my permission to go back to your status quo.”

That may not be the advice you’re expecting — after all, it doesn’t have much to do with marketing. However, if you’re serious about becoming successful, Sykes firmly believes that getting up early is the first step everyone should take.

2. Sizzle trumps the steak

Love him or hate him, President Trump is one of the most masterful marketers and brand builders of the 21st century. You may not agree with how he does it or what he says, but the man knows how to get what he wants. Whether it’s a high-rise in New York City or the Oval Office in D.C., Trump is the king of garnering attention.

One lesson that we can learn from President Trump, specifically as it pertains to his time on the campaign trail last year, is that the sizzle is sometimes more important than the steak.

“Clinton was always going to beat Trump on the steak of experience and policy knowledge,” says John Quelch, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. “A new brand can’t afford to get lost in the policy weeds. Hence, Trump’s campaign persona and his contract with the American voter offered more sizzle. Painted in broad brush strokes, the contract emphasizes goals and outcomes, and is light on policy and implementation details.”

This isn’t to say you should offer your customers hollow promises or misinformation. Rather, the way you deliver your brand’s message is sometimes more important than what the message actually is.

3. Every dot must be connected

When you strip away everything else, what’s left at the core of marketing? If you ask a successful marketer, they’ll tell you that storytelling is the essence of brand building.

Masterful marketers don’t take anything for granted. Even if the facts are clearly laid out for customers to see, they take the initiative and connect the dots through powerful storytelling.

Stop spending all of your time trying to learn how to use Instagram, structure blog posts or discover the best hashtags. What you really need to be focused on is how to become a better storyteller.

4. People (not books) provide the best knowledge

Many marketers get paralyzed by information overload. They have a stack of books piled up beside their bed, hundreds of pages bookmarked in their internet browser, and a collection of industry magazines strewn across their kitchen table. And while there’s nothing wrong with reading, successful marketers know that people provide the best knowledge — not books.

“If I’d had a teacher when I first started trading penny stocks, I bet I could have become a millionaire in half the time (and saved myself a ton of unnecessary losses at the same time). Don’t be that guy,” Sykes warns. “If you’re serious about becoming a millionaire, find somebody who’s done what you want to do and then learn from them.”

Even the greatest marketers in the world have mentors. It’s virtually impossible to thrive without having someone help you along. You may not need a hand to hold, but it’s always wise to walk beside someone who has been there before. 

5. Specialization over generalization

There’s an age-old debate about whether it’s better to specialize or generalize in your career. You’ll find different opinions on the matter — and there are cases to be made for both — but many of the world’s best marketers first find success via the specialization route.

The thinking is that it’s better to be really good at one thing than average at a lot of things. This is becoming truer as the industry grows in size. It’s pretty easy to find someone who can write a blog post and develop some social media content. It’s much harder to find someone who can consistently create viral content that thrives on Facebook.

When clients or employers are looking to hire, they don’t want someone who is average at everything. They want to work with a person who is the best at something. Don’t specialize yourself out of the industry, but do hone your abilities around one or two specific skills.

6. It’s good to give back

You may not believe in karma, but there’s some similar force at play in the business world. If you look around at the most successful people — marketers, in this context — you’ll notice that they all have a penchant for giving back to others.

Masterful marketers understand where they’ve come from and where they’re going. They also want to help others, so they tend to teach classes, write books, and reveal tips and tricks of the trade. Nobody’s saying that you’ll become more successful by giving back, but the two concepts tend to go together, more often than not.

Where can you improve?

How can you go from being an average marketer to a masterful marketer? Every path is different, but the six concepts highlighted in this article have helped thousands reach their goals.

If you’re going to grow in your career, then it’s time to make some changes.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

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