40 for 40: Marketing Lessons at 40

by David Marine
Senior Vice President of Marketing, Coldwell Banker Real Estate

(Editor’s Note: Originally posted on LinkedIn.)

I turned 40 this week. It’s become a milestone of sorts where we consider people to no longer be young, but at the same time not quite ready for AARP. Over the weekend my wife asked me a question I hadn’t really considered. She asked, “What did you learn in your 30’s that has prepared you for your 40’s?” Yes, my wife is deep, thoughtful and clearly smarter than me.

I won’t bore you with the life lessons discussed over dinner, but it did get me thinking about the marketing lessons I’ve learned. You may read them and think “these aren’t specific to marketing” and you might be right, but for me these have helped shape my various roles, responsibilities and approach to marketing.

Here’s my 40 for 40 marketing lessons:

  1. Everybody writes. Not everybody writes well.
  2. If you don’t have a measurable goal, you don’t know if you’re winning or losing.
  3. Activity does not equal achievement. (Credit: John Wooden)
  4. No one knows the true value of a Like or Retweet.
  5. If you’re new to a team, brand or organization – say “yes” to almost anything. You never know what opportunity it will provide.
  6. If you don’t like what you’re doing, YOU have to do something about it. Don’t be afraid if someone else is already doing the job you want to do.
  7. Learn to tell great stories.
  8. Doesn’t matter if it’s an email, a blog post, a video or a presentation – stories sell.
  9. If you can present, doors will open for you.
  10. If you can present well, others will hold that door open for you.
  11. Never underestimate the power of a great, visual PowerPoint deck. It makes your words more memorable.
  12. Before finalizing a project, presentation or whatever, ask yourself “Is this the best I can do?” If the answer is “no,” you know what you need to do.
  13. Do something that makes you slightly uncomfortable every once in a while.
  14. Video is the king of all media and every marketing project needs video as an element of it. No exceptions.
  15. Challenge your agencies. They want to be challenged and it keeps the work they do fresh.
  16. Hire great people.
  17. Don’t hire people who are just good enough.
  18. Get talented people on your team and then worry about finding the role for them. If you had a basketball team of Jordan, LeBron, Kobe, Durant and Curry, does it really matter who plays center?
  19. Don’t suppress your personality in your work. Finding ways to insert what you love into what you do makes the work all that more interesting (and enjoyable).
  20. Marketing books are good, but I’ve probably gotten more inspiration from comic books, late night TV and things outside the traditional marketing spectrum than anywhere else.
  21. Emotions are the cornerstone of great advertising.
  22. If you can make them cry (for the right reasons), you’re doing a great job.
  23. Good partners are worth the money.
  24. Bad partners will be the biggest thorn in your side.
  25. Media works so much harder for you when it’s not just a media buy.
  26. A media partner will be like having another agency at your disposal.
  27. Ace Metrix is a gold mine of intelligence.
  28. A lot of people still think TV is dead.
  29. A lot of people still don’t understand how to approach social media channels. It’s your job to show it to them.
  30. The balance of knowing when and how far to push your team is the hardest and most rewarding aspect of the job.
  31. If you manage people, you’re a teacher. The sooner you figure that out the better.
  32. Don’t outsource your social media or content marketing. A team that can do this from within the walls of your company is infinitely more valuable.
  33. Fun is not optional. It’s critical and your marketing will reflect that.
  34. Look outside your industry for inspiration and as a measuring stick to see how your marketing efforts stack up.
  35. Every day is a performance whether it’s a meeting, a presentation or just an ordinary day at the office. Someone is always watching.
  36. Public speaking classes are ridiculously rewarding – both for yourself and your team.
  37. Find something “ownable” for your brand, and don’t let go of it.
  38. Great meetings have great snacks.
  39. Metrics and KPIs are better when sold through a story.
  40. There’s no such thing as work-life balance. You just need to know where your priorities lie and determine to not be swayed from it.

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