Are you looking for quotes about marketing strategy? Which books contain some of the best?
Quotes are quick and simple ways to gain inspiration and nuggets of knowledge. We’ve collected 22 marketing strategy quotes from some of the best books about marketing strategy. We’ve included context and an explanation for each quote.
Continue reading for these insightful quotes about marketing strategy.
Quotes about Marketing Strategy
We have a marvelous collection of marketing books and, while we recommend reading each one, we recognize the value of plucking out a few quotes about marketing strategy to bring some of the concepts into focus.
Quotes From The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
TITLE: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
AUTHOR: Al Ries and Jack Trout
“Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.”
In the battle for prospective customers’ minds, you must fight not only to be first in mind but also best in mind. Contrary to popular belief, your most potent weapon in marketing is not the quality of your product, but rather the public’s perception of your product. Simply put, perception is reality: No matter what research and performance tests reveal, your marketing will only be successful if consumers believe that your product is the best. Build your marketing plan around the way people form perceptions. Marketing manipulates people’s perceptions and, thus, their realities.
“Fad is a wave in the ocean, and a trend is the tide.”
It’s critical to know the difference between fads and trends because fads can hurt your business while trends can create long-term success:
- Fads are short-term. They hit like a wave, generate a lot of hype, saturate the market, and fade as quickly as they rose.
- Trends are long-term. They are subtle—almost unnoticed—and they can endure for years or decades.
This quote about marketing strategy warns against investing in fads. Although fads can be profitable, their short lifespan can cause more harm than good for the company. By the time an organization has set up the staff, manufacturing, and distribution necessary, the fad is over. If you’re already selling a product that becomes a fad, the best thing to do is to dampen the fad by limiting the supply, which will sustain demand for the product. Ideally, you want to dampen the fad so much that it converts into a trend.
Quotes From All Marketers Are Liars
TITLE: All Marketers are Liars
AUTHOR: Seth Godin
“We drink the can, not the beverage.”
This quote about marketing strategy highlights an ever-growing challenge: It’s difficult to get a consumer’s attention. Even if you have a great product and a great story, your target customers may not notice it among all of the other products vying for their attention.
Let’s say your product is a new brand of deodorant. Customers may not have noticed your new deodorant among all the others available in the deodorant aisle. To make it stand out, you could give your deodorant more eye-catching packaging that’s different from your competitors’ packaging.
“We believe what we want to believe, and once we believe something, it becomes a self-fulfilling truth.”
Because people often buy based on emotion rather than need, Godin argues that it’s important for marketers to appeal to beliefs and feelings. This can involve lying by a certain definition. Godin defines lies as stories people tell themselves, which marketers build on. The consumer’s belief in a marketer’s lie makes it true—and our belief in how a product will make us feel is what we’re really buying. Therefore, he uses the terms lying and storytelling interchangeably.
Quotes From Building a StoryBrand
TITLE: Building a Storybrand
AUTHOR: Donald Miller
“In every line of copy we write, we’re either serving the customer’s story or descending into confusion; we’re either making music or making noise.”
To understand why stories communicate so well, consider the difference between music and noise. Both are sound, but music is organized and follows certain rules. This allows the brain to more easily retain it. For example, if you listened to shoes bouncing around in a dryer, you wouldn’t remember the sounds, but if you listened to the latest pop song, it would probably get stuck in your head. Music is like a story—it puts random information into a structure that aids comprehension.
“Never assume people understand how your brand can change their lives. Tell them.”
The most successful brands show customers exactly how a product will change their lives for the better. Many brands are too vague, and it’s hard to get excited about vagueness. For example, if you sell gym equipment, promising “you’ll be happy with your purchase” isn’t as compelling as “you will be as strong as an Olympian.”
To come up with a specific positive outcome, consider the external, internal, and philosophical problems your product will solve.
You can also pull inspiration from the three most popular (most aligned with inherent human desires) ways to end stories:
- The hero wins status.
- The hero becomes whole by connecting with an external factor.
- The hero becomes whole by reaching their potential.
Once you’ve come up with your specific happy ending, you can use both words and images to describe it. No matter what your product is, an image of happy-looking people engaging with it can be a great marketing tool.
Quotes From Contagious
AUTHOR: Jonah Berger
“Virality isn’t born; it’s made.”
This quote about marketing strategy comes at the beginning of the book. Berger starts by discussing what causes the massive, viral popularity of some ideas, articles, internet videos, products, and everything else. His argument has two main points:
- Berger suggests that people usually point to three main factors: low price, high quality, and lots of advertising. However, he argues that while these factors can contribute to popularity, they aren’t the defining factor of popularity—in other words, they don’t make a product popular by themselves.
- The true source of popularity is word of mouth, according to Berger. Word of mouth consists of conversations, recommendations, and gossip between people. This personal communication is uniquely effective at creating popularity because it’s frequent, trustworthy, and targeted.
“If something is built to show, it’s built to grow.”
Berger explains that to attract an audience, people should be able to see others using your product publicly. This allows people to consistently see your product around them—and when they see it frequently, they’ll start thinking about it frequently. To ensure your product is publicly visible, make it advertise itself by prominently displaying your product’s name or logo on it. You can see examples of this all around you: on computers, sneakers, headphones, and so on.
If people don’t use your product publicly or it isn’t clear that they’re using your product (for example, if someone is reading a book, it isn’t clear that they bought it from your bookstore), then Berger suggests finding an alternate way to publicly show that people buy it. For example, your bookstore could give your customers a free gift like a reusable water bottle so when they use it in public they show off your brand.
Quotes From Guerrilla Marketing
“Consistency breeds familiarity, familiarity breeds confidence, and confidence breeds sales.”
Once you’ve defined what makes your business and your product or service appealing, include these points in all your marketing materials—both online and offline. Marketing experts suggest that, in addition to using the same marketing message, you should use the same logo, colors, and fonts to create a consistent brand image.
To follow up this quote about marketing strategy from Guerrilla Marketing, Levinson argues that this approach offers two benefits. First, it helps customers immediately understand why they should choose your business over your competitors. Second, all your different marketing materials will convey a consistent message that reinforces your appeal.
“The smaller the group, the bigger the bull’s eye.”
To create a profitable marketing strategy, you first need to define your target market. Levinson argues that many businesses waste time and resources trying to get attention from customers who have no interest in what they have to offer. Knowing specifically who you’re selling to helps focus your marketing efforts on interested customers—thus contributing to increased sales and profits.
He suggests answering two questions to define your target market:
- What are you selling? Describe your product or service and the benefits it provides. For example, you sell ergonomically designed office chairs that offer maximum comfort.
- Who are you selling to? Define your target market by considering who wants the specific benefits your product or service provides. Narrow down to make this group as specific as possible. For example, customers in your target market work from home, suffer from back pain, and shop online.
Quotes From Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
TITLE: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
AUTHOR: Gary Vaynerchuk
“Content is king, but context is God.”
There’s an overwhelming amount of content on Facebook and Twitter, and, if you’re tweeting only about your products, you’re not going to stand out. You can stand out by putting your own spin on the news and augmenting existing content with commentary, humor, or voice. People want escapism and entertainment—information that’s also entertaining.
For example, say you run a bookstore. When a newspaper releases a review of a book you sell, you might tweet a sentence along the lines of, “Check out this review of The Italian Pig from The New York Times” and include the link to the review. Or, you could write something like, “The New York Times loves it. We hate it. Find out why.” This tweet would be linked to your blog, which would have the full text of the review and your thoughts on it. (The author writes that criticizing something he sold never hurt his sales when he was in the wine business; in fact, it made people trust him.)
“It’s extremely hard to create a trending hashtag and bring people to you. It’s far better to listen, find out what’s trending, and bring yourself to the people.”
This quote about marketing strategy refers to the practice of “trendjacking,” which is using hashtags that are trending to boost the visibility of your tweet. Twitter users regularly look through the list of posts that use trending hashtags, and, if you use a trend, your tweets are more likely to be seen by people outside your existing network.
You can use settings to track trends (at levels ranging from regional to worldwide) and then use that knowledge to post timely content with appropriate context. For example, the day after the finale of the TV show 30 Rock, the show’s name was trending. A brand could have told its story within that context by looking for a connection between itself and the show. The show aired for seven years, so any company with the number “seven” in their name, for example, 7 For All Mankind, might have used that connection to show that they were aware of the things their fans were interested in. 7 For All Mankind missed the opportunity, though—their Twitter page that day was full of brags, right hooks, and some customer engagement.
Quotes From Obviously Awesome
“While we understand that context is important, we generally fail to deliberately choose a context because we believe that the context for our product is obvious.”
According to April Dunford in Obviously Awesome, positioning is providing the backdrop for the use of your product to your customer so they know what the product is, why it matters, and why they should buy it. You must provide this contextualizing backdrop because humans use context to make sense of the world in general—it’s how the human brain operates, writes Dunford. Here’s an example: When you enter an unoccupied office and see a mahogany desk and law degrees on the wall, you use that context to glean you’re in a lawyer’s office. Similarly, if you enter an office with a treadmill desk and high-tech gadgets, you guess from those clues you’re in the office of a tech start-up leader.
Positioning isn’t merely helpful: It’s the bedrock of successful selling and marketing, contends Dunford. If you can’t position your product properly, no amount of money thrown at marketing and sales can sell it. This is because consumers can only appreciate and value a product when it’s set in the right context. For instance, if you try to sell a multitool as a kitchen accessory, people won’t see its value because you’re not setting it in a context that highlights its usefulness. But if you position a multitool as an accessory for a backpacking trip, consumers will see its value because the context makes clear how useful it is (it’s good for opening cans, cutting wood, and so on).
“It’s always better to be a little boring than completely baffling.”
With this quote about marketing strategy, Dunford argues that, because positioning is poorly understood and undervalued, marketers think they don’t need to position products because their positioning is clear to them and seems as though it should be clear to anyone else. Alternatively, they position the product how they, as ideators, originally conceived the product—not how consumers, who have different needs and use cases, will perceive it. For instance, a marketer may think a new compact e-reader will be great for travelers, but for consumers, the e-reader makes the most sense as a tool for presentations.
Dunford adds that you need to translate your product’s features to their benefit and value for the customer because it’s rarely clear to the customer how these things are connected. For example, you might need to explain how your vacuum’s faster-revolving brush (feature) separates carpet fibers better, allowing it to suck up deeper dirt (benefit), which keeps your carpets cleaner longer (value).
Quotes From Ogilvy on Advertising
TITLE: Ogilvy On Advertising
AUTHOR: David Ogilvy
“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”
To run a successful agency, you need talented, trained staff. Try to recruit people who are:
- More skilled than you. Ogilvy had good luck with graduates of Harvard and St. Paul’s.
- Smart. Understand that being smart means more than IQ—it includes common sense and curiosity.
- Literate. Make sure everyone can communicate in writing—most communication in advertising is on the page.
- Good at leadership. Look for people whom you could see running your agency. Look at what they did in college—if they held leadership positions, they’ll probably hold them again.
Be cautious of or don’t hire any of the following:
- Your friends. If they don’t do their job well, you’ll have to fire them, and your friendship is unlikely to survive.
- Your clients. Your clients might be good at their business, but their skills are unlikely to transfer to the advertising business.
- Your clients’ children. If there’s conflict, you might lose the client.
- Your children or your partners’ children. Your most ambitious staff will be turned off by nepotism and leave.
- People from other fields. Even if their skills are transferable, they may not have enough interest in advertising.
“It isn’t the whiskey they choose; it’s the image.”
This quote about marketing strategy refers to an example used in the book. Jack Daniel’s, Grand Dad, and Taylor whiskey all taste very similar. However, people who prefer one over the other do so because they like the image that’s associated with the brand. For instance, Jack Daniel’s projects an image of quality (it’s expensive).
“Image” is the personality of a product, which stems from its inherent qualities as well as marketing variables such as price, packaging, and advertising style. Typically, cultivating a high-quality image works well, especially for products that are used in public. If your advertising is tacky or cheap, it will make your product look tacky and cheap, and people don’t want to be associated with these qualities.
Quotes From Play Bigger
“Winning companies today market the problem, not just the solution.”
The most recognized and successful companies today created their own markets, revealing to customers a problem they didn’t know they had and then positioning themselves as the only solution.
The authors of Play Bigger cite Uber as a company that created an entirely new market and solution—ride-hailing services—to solve a problem consumers didn’t know they had: the challenge of finding a taxi when you need one. In Uber’s case, it made traditional taxis (the old market) much less appealing and completely changed how people get around.
“The story about your business is more important than the facts about your business.”
The authors write that once you’ve identified and defined your new market, it’s time to craft your company’s take: an identity, guiding principles, outlook, and story about how your company solves a problem differently than other companies.
A take is what consumers connect to—they can identify emotionally with your principles, story, and outlook. This is especially important when establishing a new market: You must give consumers a story and identity to hold on to; otherwise, you won’t establish your company as important and different in consumers’ minds. Importantly, this take must help change consumers’ mindsets so they embrace your new solution to the old or new problem.
Quotes From Positioning
AUTHOR: Al Ries and Jack Trout
“The essence of positioning is sacrifice.”
To become a market leader, you become the first to occupy the leading position in your chosen market. To do so, find (or create) a niche in which you can be the first to make a credible claim of market leadership. With this quote about marketing strategy, Ries and Trout warn that this often involves sacrificing your product’s appeal to the general market in order to appeal directly to a target niche where you can be the first to claim the leadership position.
Ries and Trout offer a number of suggestions to help you find an open niche by adjusting different aspects of your product or advertising to stand out from the crowd (e.g., size, price, distribution).
“Positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect.
According to Ries and Trout, “positioning” is getting your prospective customers to view your product in a certain way relative to competing products and the general market landscape. The “position” of a product is its basic identity in the mind of potential consumers in contrast to other products.
For example, when you think of a Ferrari, you think of an expensive, high-end sports car. When you think of a Corvette, you think of an iconic sports car that’s still expensive, but more affordable than a Ferrari. These mental images are the “positions” that Ferrari and Corvette occupy in your mind.
Quotes From Purple Cow
TITLE: Purple Cow
AUTHOR: Seth Godin
“Measurement is the key to success.”
Measuring your results is key, and probably seems like an obvious step. You need to know what’s working so that you can do more of it. Technology is making it easier to monitor which ideas and products are spreading, and how; in other words, what’s “going viral.” Successful companies will use that data to push effective strategies and products and quickly kill ones that aren’t working.
A good example of this is Logitech, a company that makes computer peripherals like mice and webcams. The internal workings of their products don’t change very often because they don’t need to. What they already have works well for most people’s purposes.
However, Logitech is constantly monitoring the user experience, taking feedback, and working to improve its products’ ergonomics, style, and ease of use. While the way the peripherals actually work doesn’t change much, Logitech’s focus on customer experience results in a lot of people who love the company and market them to their friends.
“Being safe is risky.”
Making a middle-of-the-road product with a broad appeal will all but guarantee that nobody notices it, and trying to copy someone else’s success is equally ill-fated. If your product is just playing follow-the-leader, then by definition it isn’t remarkable (unless you have some great new innovation building off of that other product). You need something that will stand out, something that’ll catch the attention of the innovators and early adopters who will pass it on to others.
Two examples of this idea are the Four Seasons and Motel 6. At first glance, it seems like they have nothing in common, yet both succeeded because they are both exceptional. Motel 6 is cheap and practical, while the Four Seasons is expensive and luxurious. They’re opposite extremes in the hotel industry, which means they both stand out.
You can’t know ahead of time which ideas will work and which will flop. Try them anyway. Playing it safe is almost guaranteed to fail. The old days of safe products and mass marketing are over. The age of the Purple Cow is here.
We hope you found these quotes about marketing strategy both instructive and inspiring. Let us know in the comments what quotes you would add to this collection.