Today's world is a lot different from even just a decade or two ago, and yet certain things tend to stick around for a reason. Marketing, for example, despite evolutions in processes and technologies, still has certain aspects that have held true even until now. If you asked someone from the turn of the 20th century about specific marketing tactics and advice, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that the basic tenets are still the same.
These 11 experts from Ad Age Collective have heard and given out countless bits of advice over the years. Here, they share their thoughts on timeless marketing advice that would hold true the same way today as it would have 50 or 100 years ago.
1. Know your audience.
The biggest difference between 100+ years ago and now is that we have so many more tools and methods at our disposal to gather information. These tools can either be used wisely -- to refine our strategy, targeting and messaging -- or overused to the degree that they paralyze decision-makers. Always stay dedicated to creating a positive customer experience. - Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive
2. Put people at the center.
It will sound utterly obvious, but many companies are getting so obsessed with their algorithms and operations that they forget to put people at the center of everything their brand does. Human behavior understanding should be the No. 1 priority of all conscious advertisers and marketers. - Marcello Magalhaes, Speakeasy - Knowledge Brokers
3. Always be genuine.
Be genuine. Consumers are more marketing-savvy today than they've ever been before and can tell when a brand is trying too hard or is out of its element from a mile away. If you ask your customers for something, offer something in return. If you screw up, admit it. You may be representing a brand, but that company is made up of humans, so always be authentic and human through your brand's voice. - Holly Fearing, Filene Research Institute
4. Focus on human interaction.
I believe people still want human interaction -- whether it is personal phone calls or personal letters, it all helps to make clients feel important. I still like to use personal handwritten "thank you" notes. I feel that provides a level of gratitude to the individual that they appreciate. That goes a long way in building client loyalty and retention. - Rob Palowitz, PALO Creative
5. Create a high-quality product.
The first of the four Ps of marketing will always remain the most important: "product." No marketing or advertising campaign can sustain the desired growth of what you're selling unless what you're selling is adding value to the consumer and is high quality. An inferior product leads to inferior campaign results no matter how clever, well-targeted or engaging the ad is. - Kurt Kaufer, Ad Results Media
6. Build a brand image that sticks.
It's important to build a brand image that sticks in the long run, rather than using short-term tactics to get a sudden boost in engagement. This was something that advertising icon David Ogilvy believed in and lived by, and this stands even today. Clickbait, price competitions and other tactics benefit you in the short run only. Focus on making a solid brand image that's memorable instead. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
7. Provide answers to customers' needs.
Most people still approach marketing from "what they want to say" about what they do, rather than "what the audience wants to hear” in order to buy. Stop talking and start answering with your marketing. - Moira Vetter, Modo Modo Agency
8. Have a unique selling proposition.
The "unique selling proposition" as a concept is virtually timeless. The idea is that your product is different from competitors' and provides more value. USP is fundamental to marketers as globalization provides more options to consumers. Even if there are a thousand products that provide the same benefit, they want to show that a product or service is different from the rest. - Duran Inci, Optimum7
9. Write your content how you speak.
"If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." This timeless advice from Elmore Leonard speaks to how marketers should craft advertising copy (i.e. write how you speak). You want your language to feel natural as your audience reads it. Get it right and you'll drive recognition, ROI and revenue for your business. Get it wrong and your audience will cast you aside as out of touch or inauthentic. - Patrick Ward, Rootstrap
10. Remember that nobody buys on price.
"Nobody buys on price." Sure, price comes into play sometimes, but usually after a healthy list of other considerations. The reason why keeping that idea in your head is important is that it encourages you to seek, create and communicate relevant points of difference and value in your marketing efforts. - Dan Beltramo, Onclusive (formerly AirPR)
11. Be nimble and capitalize on trends.
When planning your media strategy, it’s important to be nimble and capitalize on new trends that align with your business objectives. However, don’t put all of your eggs into one basket and totally eliminate a particular format or channel. Follow trends and be involved, but always aim for an omnichannel approach to avoid eliminating a particular audience segment. - Oz Etzioni, Clinch