Marketing is a big topic, but I wonder if we really understand it. Or, do we blindly follow specialist advice the way we drive our cars? As in not having the faintest idea what happens under the hood. It is in human nature to reduce complexities to paradigms. Even prophets speak in parables and we imagine gods as humans.

Take time, for example. When we were six, it took absolutely ages between birthdays. Now I am sixty-nine, the months pass like weeks. You see, we understand time as we have experienced it. To me, a year is 1/69th of time. To a six-year-old kid their 1/6th of time goes ever so slowly.

We do the same with distance. We simplify the vastness of the universe by measuring it in light years. Each one represents the time light takes to travel over 5.9 trillion miles in a vacuum. This puts everything in control until we realize the quasars are billions of light years away.

I decided to take a day off from explaining the mysteries of inbound marketing, perfecting buyer personas and the rest of them. Today, I want to approach marketing through another lens. This lens is common sense as described by some great Americans. I’ll let you into a little secret.

Marketing is common sense too, but sense ain’t always common.

 Great Marketing Quotes from Non-Marketers

I Will Spend the First Four Hours Sharpening the Axe…

Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in 1809. His only business experience was buying a general store with a partner on credit in 1832. After that, he went into politics. When a man heckled him during his first campaign speech, he “grabbed the assailant by his neck and the seat of his trousers and threw him.”

But he sure knew a thing about converting leads when he said: “A man watches his pear tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear at length falls into his lap.

Marketing Quotes

I chose him for his wisdom in saying, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. If he had been selling online, he would have taken time to research his buyer personas diligently before he took his products to market.

It’s the Size of the Fight in the Dog…

Mark Twain was born in 1835 with the unfortunate name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens but he changed that. He grew up in the backwoods of Missouri, but pulled himself up by the bootstraps to become a steamboat pilot. I guess he would have a made a great ecommerce manager, for later he wrote: A pilot had to “get up a warm personal acquaintanceship with every old snag and one-limbed cottonwood, and every obscure wood pile that ornaments the banks of this river for twelve hundred miles; and more than that, must… actually know where these things are in the dark.”

Marketing Quotes

I chose him for his backwoods saying, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”. One of the greatest things in internet marketing is we can take on established competition because good SEO can eliminate the advantage of money.

Our Greatest Weakness Lies in Giving up…

Thomas Edison found a way to load sound onto a disc, made the first movies, and invented the first working light bulb. He was also an expert in vertical market integrationHis light bulbs needed electricity, so he built the first power station and transmission grid in London, to prove his point.

Edison preferred being in his laboratory to spending time with family, and I imagine him having a shed in his backyard. Legend, which may be true, records he did over 1,000 experiments before he finally had a light bulb good enough to take to market. I can imagine his wife Marion Edison calling out the kitchen window, “Now Thomas will you stop your nonsense and come to bed.”

Marketing Quotes

Thomas made it onto my list when he said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Marketing is a game that takes time to persist after the free trial is over. Author J.K. Rowling had twelve publishers bounce her “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone”. When the 13th relented, they warned she stood little chance of making money from children’s books.

If I Hadn’t Started Painting, I Would Have Raised Chickens…

I put this one in because I can’t sit and do nothing either. Grandma Moses was born in 1860 and was always innovative. How many kids do you know today who make their own paints from lemon juice, grape juice, ground ochre, grass, flour paste, slack lime and sawdust? Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg all succeeded because they had faith in their product.

Marketing Quotes

Photo CBS News

I figure Grandma Moses is the right clarion call to close my article because she was able to say: “I look back on my life like a good day’s work, it was done and I am satisfied with it.” Consumers must see us as a company that believes in what we do, genuinely cares, and delivers a good product.

Grandma started painting at age seventy-six when her sister suggested she stopped quilting because her hands were arthritic. So what does this have to do with marketing? Great that you asked.

Marketing is the art of inspiring consumers to the point where owning your product is the only way to ease the tension.

Before she died aged 101 the old lady said, “I was happy and contented; I knew nothing better and made the best out of what life offered. And life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.”

To succeed in marketing we must make the best out of the opportunities that life offers too.