30 Marketing Insights That Are As True Today As 30 Years Ago

As Millennium celebrates 30 years in business this year, we’ve reflected all year long on what’s changed in those three decades. With the birth of digital marketing, many of the tactics we now use to communicate with customers look dramatically different than what our first customers in 1990 were using.

But many of the ideas and strategies that are at the core of effective marketing have stood the test of time, and are as important as ever. With that in mind, the team at Millennium brought together 30 marketing insights that remain as true today as they were 30 years ago:

  1. Good marketing should immediately convey to customers how you can make their lives better.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  3. Embrace negative space in design and in copywriting. Less is more.
  4. If it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.
  5. Cutting marketing to “save money” in a downturn is like an old-time doctor bleeding a patient. You don’t grow by cutting off the lifeblood that sustains sales.
  6. “Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like.”
    — Brian Chesky, Airbnb
  7. It’s easier and less expensive to keep existing customers than to bring in new ones.
  8. Don’t try to make your company the hero in your customer’s journey. THEY are the hero, and you want to be seen as the key the hero needs to unlock success.
  9. “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”
    — Theodore Levitt
  10. Educate your customers.
  11. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Your WHY is your purpose, your reason for being in business. And your WHY is why anyone should care.
    (Paraphrased from Simon Sinek)
  12. Content is king.
  13. Spellcheck is your friend.
  14. “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
    — Jeff Bezos, Amazon
  15. The tactics you deploy start with a strategy. The strategy starts with a goal. Know your goals and make a plan to get there.
  16. Fail fast and regroup faster. “If you take a risk and it doesn’t go as planned, welcome to the club.”
    — Fran Hauser, Startup Investor, Advisor, & Author
  17. Know your audience.
  18. Know your competition.
  19. Know your Unique Selling Propositions (USP).
  20. “Don’t dwell on (yesterday). Understand it, learn from it, but don’t over-respect it and allow it to affect tomorrow negatively.”
    — Gary Vaynerchuk
  21. Colors go a long way. Make sure they go in the right direction for your brand.
  22. Imagery is powerful —make sure it conveys the quality of service you provide.
  23. When all else fails, use a cute puppy photo.
  24. Don’t let the pursuit of “perfection” stop you from achieving something that’s good enough to meet your goals. Don’t overthink it and miss the moment.
  25. “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.”
    — Tom Fishburne, Marketoonist
  26. Be adaptable and embrace new opportunities.
  27. Be authentic. Be a human. Your audience is human. Connect with them.
  28. “Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell.”
    — Seth Godin
  29. Don’t say it in two words if you can say it in one.
  30. Strategy without execution is hallucination.