The 70 most important quotes in marketing

Marketing is the engine of a great business

The most important ‘marketing’ happens before you have a product to sell.

The most valuable activity of any firm is finding perfect alignment between customers and products. This is the challenge that all marketing seeks to solve. 

You don’t switch marketing on or off – You’re either a customer centric organisation or you’re not. 

1. “Marketing is not a function, it is the whole business seen from the customer’s point of view.”
– Peter Drucker

2. “Don’t blame the marketing department. The buck stops with the chief executive.”
– John D. Rockefeller

3. “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
– Peter Drucker

4. “The basic idea that marketing is wrong at its core is one of the main reasons why innovation seems blocked and unpredictable.”
– Clayton Christensen

5. “Marketing is so basic that it is not just enough to have a strong sales department and to entrust marketing to it. Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is from the customer’s point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must therefore permeate all areas of the enterprise.”
– Peter Drucker

6. “Marketing is too important to be left just to the marketing department.”
– Philip Almond, marketing director, Diageo

7. “Marketing goes wrong when it is perceived by companies as a bolt-on activity.”
– Michael Perry, UK businessman and former chairman of Centrica

8. “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.”
– Peter Drucker

Marketing starts with solving the problems of your existing customers

Solve the problems for those that you know best. More will follow. 

9. “You can’t growth hack your way out of a churn problem. All the tricks in the book to load your funnel won’t save you if customers are actively fleeing your product as fast as you can shovel them into the funnel.”
– Jim Grey

10. “In marketing I’ve seen only one strategy that can’t miss – and that is to market to your best customers first, your best prospects second and the rest of the world last.”
– John Romero

11. “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”
–Seth Godin

12. “The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing”
– John Russell, President, Harley Davidson

13. “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
– Peter F. Drucker

Great marketing speaks to your customer in their own language

Your customer is a person, not a segment. Speak to them as a friend, not a prospect. 

14. “In marketing you must choose between boredom, shouting and seduction. Which do you want?”
– Roy H. Williams

15. “For a truly effective social campaign, a brand needs to embrace the first principles of marketing, which involves brand definition and consistent storytelling.”
– Simon Mainwaring

16. “Do not address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.”
– David Ogilvy

17. “Commit to a niche; try to stop being everything to everyone.”
– Andrew Davis

18. “No matter what or whom we’re talking about, from movies to chiropractors to books to financial planners, the consumer hankers after specialisation”
– Susan Friedmann

19. “Our jobs as marketers are to understand how the customer wants to buy and help them do so.”
– Bryan Eisenberg

20. “I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”
– David Ogilvy

Great marketing is focused on problems, not products

We all hate being ‘sold’ to. But we all love solving our problems.

21. “We all have jobs in our lives that we must get done. We reach out and bring products into our lives to get these jobs done. Marketing is all about asking, ‘What job is the customer trying to accomplish?”
– Clayton Christensen

22. “Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” – Joe Chernov

23. “The buyer journey is nothing more than a series of questions that must be answered.”
– Analyst Firm IDC

24. “Be the best answer.”
– Lee Odden

All marketers are in the business of storytelling

Humans are designed to remember stories. Not facts.

25. “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”
– Seth Godin

26. “Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.”
– Roger C. Schank

27. “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell”
– Seth Godin

28. “Our stories become richer and far more interesting when they go against the settled order of things”
– Kevin Spacey

29. “If your stories are all about your products and services, that’s not storytelling. It’s a brochure. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger.”
– Jay Baer

30. “Effective content marketing is about mastering the art of storytelling. Facts tell, but stories sell”
– Brian Eisenberg

31. “People think in stories, not statistics. Marketers need to be master storytellers”
– Arianna Huffington

32. “Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill when it comes to business.”
– Gary Vaynerchuk

The aim of marketing is trust. Trust comes from authenticity

Everyone hate lies, spin and exaggeration. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hearing the lies, spin or exaggeration from friends, family (or a brand).

If you don’t want to be friends with someone who’s so obviously fake, why would you let a ‘fake’ business into your life?

33. “If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”
– Zig Ziglar

34. “The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it’s very difficult to build and very easy to destroy. The essence of trust building is to emphasize the similarities between you and the customer.”
Thomas J. Watson

35. “90% trust peers on social networks (even strangers); only 15–18% trust brands.”
– Danny Brown

36. “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”
– Andrew Davis, Author of Brandscaping

37. “The most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.”
– Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks

We all work in entertainment now

Whether you’re selling B2C or B2B, you’re still selling business to person. And no person has a high tolerance for boring.

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling. It doesn’t matter how senior you are or what your role is. If you’re not entertaining, nothing else matters.

38. “Instead of one way interruption, web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it”
– David Meerman Scott

39. “Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.”
– Wendy Piersall

40. “Think like a publisher, not a marketer.”
– David Meerman Scott

41. “You are competing with every piece of content ever made for every person’s attention. You need to be entertaining. Don’t outsmart. Out-entertain.”
– Dolf van den Brink, President and CEO, Heineken USA

42. “Marketing is like a first date. If you only talk about yourself, there won’t be a second one”
–David Beebe, ‎Vice President, Global Creative and Content Marketing at Marriott International

43. “We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.”
– Craig Davis, former Chief Creative Officer at J. Walter Thompson.

44. “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.”
– Tom Fishburne

45. “Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.”
– Brian Clark

46. “Marketing is a contest for people’s attention.”
– Seth Godin

You must provide value first

Marketing is a conversation between you and a customer. If you deliver enough value in that conversation.

47. “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.”
-Howard Luck Gossage

48. “Finding new ways, more clever ways to interrupt people doesn’t work.”
– Seth Godin

49. “These days, people want to learn before they buy, be educated instead of pitched.”
– Brian Clark

50. “Make your marketing so useful people would pay for it”
– Jay Baer

51. “Content marketing is the only marketing left”
– Seth Godin

52. “Your top of funnel content must be intellectually divorced from your product but emotionally wed to it.”
– Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing, Hubspot

53. “Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.”
– Brian Clark

54. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.”
– Benjamin Franklin

The internet has changed everything, and changed nothing

The internet has changed everything, except for human behaviour. 

55. “There’s a lot of fear mongering about “losing control” of your brand online. In fact, you’ve got control over as much as you always have: how you present your business and how you act.”
-Amber Naslund

56. “Instead of one-way interruption, web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it”
– David Meerman Scott

57. “Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.”
– Brian Solis

58. “People don’t want to be marketed at in the social channel. This is where they want to talk to each other, and brands are there by invitation. They have to be a great guest at the table.”
– Veronica Fielding

59. “It’s hard to find things that won’t sell online.”
– Jeff Bezos, founder, Amazon

60. “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is”
-Scott Cook

61. “The internet has turned what used to be a controlled, one way message into a real-time dialogue with millions.”
-Danielle Sacks

62. “The big thing is that the future of digital will be about marketing. It won’t be about advertising.”
– Rishad Tobaccowala

Great marketing is equal parts inspiration, perspiration and iteration

Marketing done well is the intersection of art and science. It starts with a great idea, tested, optimised and iterated. The best marketing is a perfect idea, relentlessly optimised.

There’s plenty of unsuccessful marketers who work hard. But there are no successful marketers who don’t work work hard.

63. “Marketing takes a day to learn. Unfortunately, it takes a lifetime to master.”
– Philip Kotler

64. “Marketing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”
– William Levins

65. “Successful blogging is not about one time hits. It’s about building a loyal following over time.”
– David Aston

66. “Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.”
– Jonathan Perelman

67. “Great content is a lot like gasoline. It’s not much good without a funnel.”
– Steve Pell

68. “If a piece of your content is successful, don’t do more like it. Do more with it.”
– Jay Acunzo

69. “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results”
– Winston Churchill

70. “When creating content, be the best answer on the internet.”
– Andy Crestodina


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