Marketing is not rocket science, although it feels like it at times. In fact, 99% of success lies in knowing and nailing down the core principles.

Doing the right thing consistently can take you from mediocrity to greatness. Sounds simple, but the vast majority of marketers don’t even get close.

In fact, the ones who do become great are simply very good at doing some smart, basic things that most marketers overlook.

But what is it that exactly that makes people like David Ogilvy and Steve Jobs the legends they became? What makes modern marketers like Gary Vee or Seth Godin the successes they are?

Learning from the best is the way to become the best. Here are seven lessons from some of the greatest marketers ever.

David Ogilvy: Never Stop Testing

David Ogilvy is the OG of advertising. He infamously used to say, “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”

His words have never been truer in an overcrowded marketplace. Keep testing and experimenting and applying your findings to improve your campaigns, products, and services. This kind of innovation is what makes the difference between the leader and the follower.

Neil Patel: Optimize for Revenue

Neil is a serial entrepreneur and the leading voice in online marketing today. His advice goes, “Don’t optimize for conversions, optimize for revenue.”


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Often, marketers focus on the wrong metrics, while forgetting about the bigger picture. Conversion rates aren’t the ultimate end goal for a business. For example, you may convert many low value subscribers while missing out on the ones that matter.

Seth Godin: Stand Out

“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”

The author of Purple Cow Marketing advises business owners to be remarkable to their customers. To stand out in the marketplace.

Be creative, experiment, and find ways to appeal to your audience like nobody else. Grab their attention. But grab it in a way coherent with your business goals.

Gary Vaynerchuk: Use the Right Context

In 1996, Bill Gates famously said that, “content is king.” Gary Vee made it more accurate by saying, “Content is king, but context is God.”


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Context are the facts and circumstances around a situation. It’s how you publish, distribute, and promote your content. Pick the wrong medium, promote it to the wrong audience, and you can be sure most of your content efforts will go to waste.

Steve Jobs: Have a Great Product

Steve Jobs is probably the best product marketer who ever lived. After all, he built the largest company in the world. But he understood one thing – behind great marketing campaigns, there must be a great product first.

“It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do.”

Derek Halpern: Build Your Email List

“If you’re not building an email list, you’re an idiot. I know that’s harsh, but when companies can destroy your entire business in one fell swoop, you should rely on things you can control.”


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Derek Halpern of Social Triggers makes an excellent point. Don’t completely rely on marketing channels that may come and go. Ad costs can rise. Social media can become crowded. Email lists are your direct channel to customers, no matter what the situation is.

Rand Fishkin: Don’t Build Links, Build Relationships

Rand Fishkin is today’s top authority on SEO. His stance on the topic can be summed up as, “it’s all about the content.” That’s not surprising. With its last two updates, Google made it quite clear that the old model of link-building is dead.

As a marketer, you should focus on building content that actually connects. If people feel a connection with your brand and your content, they’ll share it and refer to it. In fact, over time, there’s a high correlation between the relationships you build and the links you earn.