Skip to content

How to be Good at Marketing

“Yea, but he doesn’t really know marketing.”

She was talking about her husband. He works in marketing, apparently.

She clarified, “He’s a designer. More than anything, he’s an artist. He doesn’t really know how to (air quotes) “market” things.”

I feel for this guy.

The truth is the majority of people who work in marketing, don’t actually know marketing. They know a facet of marketing.

They’re not bad at marketing either. They simply handle one piece of the pie.

Pieces of the Marketing Pie

Pieces of the Marketing Pie

They know their piece of the pie does X. And they do that.

To know marketing is to understand that marketing works as a system.

The system has two sides that work together.

Side One: What you tell people about your organization.
Side Two: What people’s subjective experience is with your organization.

Side One and Side Two of Marketing

Marketers are experts in Side One.

They help tell people about your organization through your logo, your photography, your colors, your ads emails, your Tweets…

They forget that there is another side to marketing because that part (they believe) is out of their jurisdiction.

It’s in Side Two.

Side Two lives in other departments. It’s in customer service, product development, the front desk lady, the POS system…domains marketing isn’t allowed to touch.

Can’t touch this

That side feels like the Wild West.

And we hate the Wild West. Bandits pop up everywhere, the terrain is a nightmare, and you’re likely to get dysentery.

No thanks. We like our marketing done by-the-book, so there’s no surprises.

Templates and Skillshare courses, please. You have a proprietary method? Perfect, sign me up.

We like by-the-book marketing because it gives us the illusion of certainty. We’re not going in totally blind. We have a roadmap.

Unfortunately, marketing – real marketing – doesn’t have a roadmap.

It’s a sloppy messy series of things you do that may not work.

The good news is that you don’t have to understand marketing to be good at marketing.

You don’t need fancy software, complicated spreadsheets, or a word-smithing genius.

To be good at marketing, you only need to understand one thing: People.

You don’t need to “learn marketing.”

You need to learn people. Study people. Pay attention to people.

Seinfeld GIF People are the worst

When you pay attention, you realize you’ve been asking the wrong question this entire time.

You’ve been asking, “How do we market this?”

The real question is: “Who is this for? And why should they care?”

And when you can answer that (honestly), you’re good at marketing.


This post originally appeared on ThinkGrowth.



For more real talk on the psychology behind why we do what we do, sign up for email updates. That’s a bad CTA but whatever, we’ve gone too far: