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Kathy Vass, Marketing Editor

Honing Your Marketing Skills

Developing the personality of a successful marketer is a powerful business tactic.

By Kathy Vass, Marketing Editor

L ike other professionals, marketers have certain personality traits that help determine their level of success. While traits themselves are not tactics, developing the personality of a good marketer is a powerful tactic.


The guru of guerrilla marketing, Jay Conrad Levinson, talks about the eight personality traits that are common in all successful marketing professionals, with the first and most important being patience.

Successful companies know marketing is an investment and make it a permanent line item in the budget. One of the biggest obstacles to successful marketing is the process of continually changing the marketing strategy. Many well-developed marketing campaigns are abandoned before they have a chance to produce results.

The first to tire of your marketing message typically are your employees, family and friends. They will advise you to change your ads, direct mail campaign or overall message because they’re bored with them. This is when the second personality trait of a successful marketer kicks in.


Remember, your prospects are not bored with your marketing because they’ve likely still not heard of you. They are not exposed to your marketing message every day. Develop the confidence to tell those closest to you that you intend to stay the course despite their concerns.

Confidence can be a little tougher at the office. Oftentimes, companies develop an effective marketing message that is used in advertising, but the public relations department heads off in another direction, the sales department in another and the operations people in still another.

The only person who can keep everyone headed in the same direction is the CEO, and successful marketers have the confidence and ability to assist the CEO in keeping everyone focused on the same message for the necessary period of time. Companies that survive in a highly competitive marketplace are patient and stay the course. They know a consistent, repetitive message is their prime ally.


The third personality trait necessary for good marketers is imagination. This doesn’t mean you have to be the best headline writer or graphic artist. It has more to do with offering ideas that are unique. For example, one savvy marketer saw a way to assist a local charity and approach clients the company had not worked with in a few years.

The company bought several books of raffle tickets being sold by a local nonprofit organization to raise funds for a new facility. They sent the books of tickets to former customers and asked them to distribute them to their employees for a chance to win a big-screen television. The result was an effective platform to talk with former customers who called to say thank you and express their excitement about the chance to win. It gave the company an opportunity to talk about new products and recapture old business.


The fourth trait of successful marketers is sensitivity. Good marketers are keenly aware of the economy, market conditions within their industry, the competition and their customers. They are sensitive to the time of year, current events and especially what is on the minds of their customers at any given moment.


The fifth trait is aggressiveness. Successful marketers are aggressive in their thinking and their spending. They insist on doing more than the status quo. For example, when the US average is 4 percent of gross revenues spent on marketing, successful marketers invest 6, 8 or 10 percent. They also know there are many free weapons in the marketing arsenal, and they vigorously pursue them. They get involved in their community, join trade organizations to get to know their customers in a different setting and network. They also read books on marketing, and scour the Internet and magazines for new marketing ideas and techniques. Their thirst for knowledge is endless, and they know they must stay abreast of the ever-changing world of communications.


The sixth trait of a successful marketing professional is energy. It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Energy and persistence alter all things.” It takes tremendous energy to turn new ideas and techniques you constantly read about into action programs for your company.

People have one-way brains or two-way brains. Those that have one-way brains read books, attend seminars, listen to tapes and take continuing education courses. They learn a great deal, but it remains inside. People with two-way brains immediately turn their newly acquired knowledge and wisdom into action, and action requires constant energy. Thinking but not doing prevents many businesses from realizing profitability.


The seventh trait is generosity. Traditional salespeople consider what they can get from their prospects; successful marketers think of what they can give. They know that they succeed when their prospects and clients succeed. They don’t mind sharing valuable information in the form of brochures, websites or trade articles.

Most successful marketers subscribe to the Law of Karma, or “what goes around comes around.” You get what you give, and you attract what you resist.


The eighth trait of a successful marketer is action. In marketing, action is the purpose of the exercise, not a spectator sport. Strategy meetings and marketing plans are a good and necessary part of any marketing campaign, but a plan gathering dust on the shelf accomplishes nothing. The act of doing something is the hallmark of successful marketers, but they do not confuse activity with accomplishment. Their actions are well executed and in accordance with the established branding strategy. They don’t stray from the message, and they don’t abandon the plan until its scheduled conclusion.

Editor’s Note: Kathy Vass is the owner of Vass Markets Inc., a marketing and public relations firm in Greenville.

March 2005