Marketing Microsoft

Marketing Maxims: Pithy Sayings, Proven Truths

Here are six sayings to help keep partners focused on their marketing message.

As I've climbed (occasionally stumbling) up the path in my marketing career, I've collected a number of helpful maxims -- memorable mottos that, in my view, embody real meaning. Some have inspired me. Others have helped guide me to the next level of knowledge and skill. I thought I'd share some favorite maxims and explain how I apply them to myself and to the Microsoft partner clients with whom I work.

1. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. This one comes from Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Free Press; updated edition 2004) and other best-sellers. It's a reminder to keep marketing strategies and tactics tightly focused on driving sales leads. I believe that other objectives are secondary, especially for Microsoft partners who don't have a lot of money to waste. Bring those secondary objectives along for the ride, but channel your real energy into attracting potential buyers.

2. Just do it. In my Marketing for Leads and Sales seminars and workshops, I like to quote Nike's famous three-word slogan: Just do it. Stop thinking about your marketing efforts; get them underway. Ideas that never leave the drawing board won't help build your business.

3. Measure twice. Cut once. An online search found more than a million Web pages featuring this gem, which probably came first from some unfortunate carpenter who didn't have a board stretcher handy. Applied to marketing, this advice means carefully thinking things through before you act. And be ready for the domino effect, when an action quickly leads to a chain of consequences. For example, if you offer information on your Web site, do you have the materials in question ready to go? If you invite prospects to attend a webinar, do you have plans for following up with them?

4. Good enough is good enough. I thought I came up with this one myself to avoid getting stuck in the "measure-once-cut-twice" stage. But a Web search indicates that marketing guru and best-selling author Seth Godin, among others, is thinking along the same lines.

What does "good enough" mean? As a perfectionist, I could easily fiddle indefinitely with marketing communications plans, campaigns or materials. I've taught myself, and encourage my clients, to aim instead for making things good enough to achieve the desired results.

5. Your brand is the promise that you keep, not the one you make. My friend Kristin Zhivago, a marketing consultant and author of Rivers of Revenue: What to Do When the Money Stops Flowing (Smokin' Donut Books, 2004), coined this phrase a few years back. It means that all the brand marketing in the world doesn't matter if your prospect has a bad experience with your company.

So instead of spending a truckload on brand advertising or a snazzy new logo, invest in making sure that all your company's customer touch points are enhancing the brand rather than hurting it.

6. And then some. I heard this saying early in my career, but can't remember who said it. However, it's among the best recommendations for marketing as well as for customer service: Try to do everything your clients and prospects expect -- and then some. The "and then some" might be an offer to provide some follow-up consulting by phone at no additional charge. (As a bonus in my case, these follow-up consultations often lead to additional projects.)

Have your own favorite marketing maxims? Let me know. If I feel that I can use them in future articles or seminars (with proper attribution, of course), I'll send you a bright yellow "Marketing Genius" T-shirt.

About the Author

M.H. "Mac" McIntosh has been providing marketing and sales consulting services for Microsoft and many of its partners for more than seven years. More than 1,000 Microsoft Partners across the United States and Canada have attended his Marketing Boot Camps and Marketing for Leads (tm) live and Web seminars. You can contact Mac via