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  • Writer's pictureRyan Gardiner

20 Things I’ve Learnt in a 20 Year Marketing Career!


Golden retriever with treat balanced on nose

Inspired by Archipelo Coaching’s Naked Coaching Club this morning (thank you Gary & Kirsten), I was reflecting on the things I’ve learnt and it dawned on me that I’ve been working for 20 years! So here’s 20 things I’ve learned in the a 20 year marketing career (and where relevant who I’ve learnt them from).


1. There is always a solution, sometimes you just have to work harder to find it - my first ever boss, the amazing Christine Maddox at Deloitte.

2. Being nice and being good in business aren’t mutually exclusive - Classroom Teachers

3. Two ears, one mouth, use the ratio - Kelly Robinson

4. The value of your proposition is determined by your customers and the benefit they derive from your product or service.

5. Fusing creativity with commercial acumen put a business on the fast track to growth

6. If your strategy doesn’t consist of research & insight, a primary prioritised challenge and clear action don’t expect success.

7. Culture, relationships and people determine how successful your strategy is.

8. Going against the grain, even if it’s the right thing to do, isn’t easy. Keep the faith!

9. Believe in yourself! Your ideas and your way of doing things should never be diluted. Find your own way of growing belief in yourself!

10. There are lessons in every experience, good, bad and ‘meh’ - you owe it to yourself to use the learnings to grow self-belief.

11. A strong, diverse and arsehole free network will enhance your probability of success!

12. Don’t underestimate the depth of your knowledge and experience, that’s why people hired you in the first place.

13. Developing the people around requires patience, empathy and acute listening skills.

14. If the fundamentals aren’t right, you’ll spend most of your time firefighting.

15. Learning and knowledge sharing is only successful if the recipient wants to learn.

16. Engrained behaviours are difficult to change, it takes time and conscious effort. State benefits clearly and simply and provide an action plan so progress can be charted..

17. Not everyone speaks Marketing, don’t be surprised if other departments don’t understand you, it’s not their fault! Work everything back to the simplest language possible and know your numbers!

18. Marketing metrics must feed business metrics, understanding the relationship between them is paramount particularly revenue & profitability

19. Customers don’t care about your brand, they care about the value you can offer. Entertaining or informing are great ways to shortcut capturing their mental availability. surprise and delight.

20. Pictures of cute animals stop everyone in their tracks…I may or may not have used an imaginary office dog in an email marketing campaign to improve response rates.


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