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21 timeless marketing tips, part 2

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It’s been 21 years since I left my corporate marketing job in Washington, DC, to open my own marketing consulting and creative services firm in Cleveland. So to celebrate my company’s 21st anniversary, here are 21 timeless tips for your smart marketing strategy.

11. Every marketer needs print. People still read and study printed materials to make purchasing decisions. Printed brochures, catalogs and direct mail play a critical role in almost every organization’s marketing strategy.

12. Every marketer needs social media. With half the planet on social media, you can’t afford to be left out of the conversation. Identify the social media platforms where your customers congregate and join them.

13. Your website is your most important marketing real estate. A company’s website plays a part in nearly every purchasing decision nowadays. If you want people to do business with you, your website must be great.

14. Simplicity sells. No one has the time or energy to figure out your marketing. The best marketing messages are simple and clear. Even if your product or service is complex, marketing should make things easier to understand, not harder.

15. Show what you know. If you market professional services, your knowledge is your most important point of differentiation. Don’t promote what you do; show prospects what you know and how your expertise can address their challenges.

16. Use testimonials. Your customers’ words help make your claims credible. Ask customers to help tell your story by describing their experience in testimonials and case studies.

17. Sales opportunities may be closer than you think. Some of your best sales opportunities could be right under your nose: up-selling and cross-selling to people who already buy from you. Be sure your marketing strategy includes marketing initiatives to sell more to current customers.

18. Target the right prospects. Many marketers waste valuable resources marketing to the wrong people. Use database analysis to identify and profile your best customers, then target prospects similar to them.

19. Give your sales team the tools to succeed. Most marketers have a sales team. Support that team with lead-generation marketing and professional sales presentation tools. Lead nurturing should be a top priority.

20. Look for suppliers who will be partners. You’ll need agencies, freelancers, printers, videographers and other suppliers to produce your marketing campaigns. The best vendors are real partners with ideas that result in a better end product. You can always find someone to do it cheaply, but it’s worth paying more for a true partnership.

And finally, tip #21 and the most important lesson I have learned in my long career in marketing: My dear friend, the late Mike O’Hara of the AB&C Group who became my first client 21 years ago, taught me that business is about relationships. No matter what you sell or what you do, building great relationships with others — your team, colleagues, vendors and clients — is the biggest determinant of your success.

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Jean M. Gianfagna is a marketing strategy expert and the founder and president of Gianfagna Strategic Marketing which provides marketing strategy and creative services to leading business-to-business and consumer marketers. Read her blog for more marketing tips at


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