5 Marketing Lessons My Grandmother Taught Me

Posted in: Marketing, Work on March 1st, 2011

My grandmother was a schoolteacher who, in her later years, spent most of her time shopping for bargains, doing crosswords and chatting online. As a youngster, I used to think she was a little crazy, but as I grow older I realise her views on life were in fact marketing gospel.

The Proof is in the Proofing

My grandmother could smell a spelling mistake in a perfume shop and see a grammatical error in a pot of alphabet soup so naturally, anything that she wrote was proof-read to perfection.

Keeping your web or print copy error-free is more than just a MS Word Spell Check. You should also read it aloud to yourself, send it on to a friend or colleague to proof, then re-read for errors yourself before finalising. For those looking for a paid grammar checker with more power then MS Word, you could try Grammarly <– affiliate link – which offers online spelling, grammar and writing style checks.

The funny thing about spelling and grammar is that when it’s correct you don’t notice, but wen its wrung it rally stands out?

It’s Often Better to Give than to Receive

When the Salvation Army was bell-ringing outside the local department store, my grandmother always put her hand in her pocket. The same thing happened when the Girl Guides came to the door, and at Christmas you could guarantee she would put more thought into giving presents than anyone else.

In business we all spend so much time thinking about the next job, we sometimes forget the benefits of giving something away for free. A few free giveaways you could try are:

  • Giving away a product or service as a prize in a fundraising auction.
  • Offering a free giveaway in return for a Facebook Like, Twitter Follow or email marketing subscription.
  • Donating products or services to a charity or school group.
  • Sponsoring a local sports team.

Eliminate the Clutter

If you went round to my grandmother’s house you would find it immaculately clean and tidy, no matter what day of the week it was. The shelves were dusted, the oven was clean, the dishes were put away and most importantly, there was no clutter to disrupt my focus.

When your customers are browsing your website, listening to your sale pitch or reading your brochure, don’t distract their attention away with clutter. Instead, offer 1 or 2 key focal points to encourage your readers to follow an action. Here is an example call to action button for a website:

Click Here For Something Cool Free PSD Button

If you want to use this easy to edit button, please Download this Free PSD Button zip package and use as you please.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

As a child, my days helping Grandma in the garden were meticulously planned from before my arrival to after my departure. Without fail she would have prepared the lawnmower, decided which weeds we were pulling, laid out my gardening gloves, refrigerated some lemonade and carefully counted out the $6.25 she would pay me for my help.

Her forethought meant that my afternoon of gardening went smoothly from start to finish. I was never unsure whether I was pulling weeds or her favourite Geraniums, and her planning enabled me to be as efficient as a 12-year-old can be.

For those looking to plan ahead, business.gov.au has some good marketing plan templates and you can always check out my other marketing posts for more tips.

Pitch at the Right Level

Start ButtonWhen my grandmother first got a computer, I was tasked with teaching her the basics. One of the first things I told her was “click the Start Button”, to which she responded “what’s the Start Button?” It instantly became apparent that I needed to work on the fundamentals first and knowing that allowed me to pitch my lessons at the right level.

This doesn’t always mean you need to dumb-down your marketing approach, but ensure you tailor your pitch to your audience. For example, if you were selling web applications to computer programmers you wouldn’t need to explain what PHP is. However, if you were to try and sell software to my grandmother, you might just need to tell her what the Start Button is.

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