Tips to Become a Marketing Magician

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Recently, I was at an on-site client meeting as part of their website development team. We are working on a massive website migration, if you have ever been part of one of these projects, you know it can take months to complete and bugs always randomly appear.

As we were working through the back-end of the new website, someone asked the lead developer a question on how a certain feature worked. His answer,

“It’s magic!”

I immediately joked, “great, that’s what you want to hear from your web developer, it’s magic, not some elegant line of code or another explanation.” We laughed as only nerds laugh at something that seems trivial but is actually a common thought about marketing.

There is this idea among people who don’t know website code, design, analytics, or other central marketing practices that what we do as marketers is some type of sorcery. Most of the time I try to explain the detailed steps of how brands are designed, campaigns are built, and the technical components of online platforms. And most of the time, my explanations are met with, “yea, so can you just make it work?”

From now on, I am going to say, “yes, because I am a marketing magician.”

How about you, do you want to dive into the magical arts and become a marketing magician? If so, here are a few tips that will get you started to take your skills to the next level.

Learn Principals from the Greats

One of the more frustrating aspects of marketing is that everything seems to change daily. There is a new algorithm to appease, some designer in an Eastern European country is willing to work for $5, trends seem to vacillate on a whim (are we supposed to be focused on UX or CX now???), and clients want results today.

Because of these constant alterations, it’s almost impossible to find books that will help with specific marketing techniques. Think of the process of pitching a book to writing to editing to publishing. A solid book can take months or a year to go from idea to being sold on Amazon. That’s why it’s difficult to find titles that provide specific technical marketing advice.

Yet, there is a difference between techniques and principals.

Techniques are pure execution, for example, how to optimize an image for a website, how to insert Google Tag Manager script, how to export a high-quality PDF for print, and 1,000 other items that have to be done for any marketing campaign to work. These are the steps that change frequently.

Principals, on the other hand, are strategic steps that don’t change for decades or centuries. As an example, the principals of the scientific method have not radically altered for years. The techniques and equipment for experiments have improved, but the principals have remained steady.

The same is true for marketing.

Yes, the mediums for marketing have evolved from print to radio to television to the internet. However, the principals developed by the great marketers, Claude Hopkins to David Ogilvy to Ryan Holiday, are relatively the same.

Primarily, research and goal setting always come first. Then a detailed strategy is developed that leads directly to execution followed by analytics to determine if the strategy was successful or not.

The above short paragraph is the essence of proper marketing principals.

  1. Discovery Research
  2. Strategy
  3. Execution
  4. Analytics
  5. Maintenance

Don’t take my word for it, learn from those who are more accomplished than myself. In my opinion, the two best books on marketing principals are:

Although they were written decades apart, the ideas are timeless and will make you look like a marketing magician when it comes to understanding the proper principals of any marketing campaign.

But Don’t Forget the Techniques

Principals are superior to techniques in every way, but you still need to know how to execute. For that reason, you must have a strong pulse of the marketing industry.

Fortunately, we have access to every technique imaginable through online articles, podcasts, YouTube tutorials, sub-reddits, and mobile apps.

I read 5-15 marketing articles every day to keep up with the latest trends, new techniques, changes to algorithms, and more. It’s really not that hard to stay updated. I use the app Flipboard and have set it to give me marketing articles daily. There is so much content floating around in cyberspace that I learn new techniques anytime I open the app.

Find your preferred source and consume as much content as you can when it comes to marketing techniques to level up as a marketing magician.

Put Your New Knowledge to Work

I am always fascinated that people will read blogs, listen to podcasts, and spend thousands of dollars on fancy degrees but won’t put what they learned to practice.

  • Watching an Adobe Illustrator tutorial on YouTube does not make you a designer. Spending hours practicing in Illustrator and selling your work does make you a designer.
  • Becoming certified in Google Analytics does not make you a marketing analytics expert. Spending hours diving into Google Search Console, Analytics, and Tag Manager while being paid does make you skilled in analytics.
  • Writing a personal blog on WordPress does not make you a website developer. Practicing coding, learning multiple website back-ends, and making money working on websites does make you a web builder/developer.

The point is that you can’t get your marketing magician card until you actually do the work. There used to be this television show that explained the secrets of magic tricks. If you watched that show, it didn’t’ mean you could perform the illusions, it just meant you had a working knowledge of how they were done.

To become a marketing magician you have to put in the work.

It’s All an Illusion

If you follow the above tips, people will think what you do can only be accomplished by the few. I am routinely praised for completing tasks that, honestly, aren't that difficult. The reason they appear significant is that I have spent years perfecting the art of the illusion.

I have learned how to use dozens and dozens of different platforms including the Adobe Creative Suite, everything Google, and how to work in different CMS environments. Now, when someone asks if I can do X, my answer is yes 90% of the time. After I complete the project, it looks like an amazing feat when in reality I just followed the principled advice of those that came before me and utilized modern techniques that I have practiced.

You can do the same. Once you do so, you will be a marketing magician.

If you are more interested in hiring a marketing magician instead of becoming one, contact me today and we can set up a time to speak.

Matt Avery

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