Marketers tend to stress about “what’s next.” What is going to drive business? What cool new platform or technology are we missing out on? (“You kidding me? Everybody’s on Woo Woo.”) But before we start breathlessly chasing “what’s next,” let’s take a moment to think.

Incessant platform jumping can hurt more than it helps. (Just ask the marketing leaders who went all-in on Pinterest a couple of years back.) Marketing’s end goal, after all, isn’t to be cool; it’s to develop and maintain strong relationships with customers. And building strong relationships — in business as in life — is largely a matter of listening to, and caring about, the other.

To loosely paraphrase the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, improving any situation starts with acknowledging what’s broken. After that, achieving the highest level of success — “enlightenment” — can happen only when the mind is transformed into a state of wisdom and compassion.

What does this have to do with marketing? Simply that the wise approach is to stop worrying about what you might be missing out on (platform-wise) and instead focus on what they, your customers and prospects, need. As you develop communications against your 2016 marketing strategy, regardless of channel, keep in mind these timeless Four Noble Truths of Marketing:

1. Nobody cares about you: Nothing is more important to you than your business. But that’s you. Your customers and prospects couldn’t care less; they don’t need to hear from you until they need to hear from you. So use your voice sparingly. And when you do use it, say something that really matters.

2. People hunger to be engaged: Each of us has deep interests and limitless capacity for joy and love. Yet we spend most of our days doing “what we have to” and enduring loads of mind-numbing noise. Feed the souls of your audiences. Give them content that sparks their interests and earns their trust.

3. It’s easier to sell when they come to you: Standing on a soapbox and yelling at a crowd with a bullhorn will turn a few heads, yes, but it’ll annoy most everyone else. Stop discrediting your brand for the low-percentage gain. Target your best audiences and make it easy — and worthwhile — for them to come to you.

4. Playing it safe is riskiest of all: As soon as you decide to go with “what works” or the “tried and true,” you’ve unintentionally agreed to be unspectacular. No one gets excited by the same-old (which is, by definition, the same and old). Dare to do something different that will get your customers in the gut. 

#     #     #

Originally published on 2-18-16 @ CMO.com