Eight Lessons My Mom Taught Me About Marketing.

Mom at 23 in 1941

My mom is ninety-two and a wise woman. She never had much schooling but she earned her doctorate at the university of life. She has a homespun wisdom that on reflection has taught me some vital marketing lessons. Here they are:

  1. Never leave home without being carefully groomed. My mom always leaves her home neatly dressed and with her hair carefully coiffed. When I’m out in my community, I occasionally encounter former clients or workshop participants. Sometimes I find myself talking to a stranger about my work. I’m aware that I’m a walking billboard for personal history.  This means I need to look appropriately professional. No need for a suit and tie. But slouching around in sweat pants and ratty sneakers won’t do when you’re in the public eye.
  2. Don’t forget to say thank you. It’s a small word that goes a long way to creating a good impression. My mom never fails to says thank you for a kindness shown her. She always sends a thank you card after receiving a gift. Make it a point in your marketing to thank clients. I send a note thanking a potential client even if we don’t end up working together. I also send birthday and holiday cards to former clients. It’s a special touch that people appreciate and remember.
  3. Don’t waste time on ungrateful people. Mom is sweet but she’s also strong. If people don’t show some reciprocal kindness or interest, she drops them. There’s a good marketing lesson here. There’s no point trying to promote your personal history services to people who aren’t interested or don’t care. It’s better to concentrate your energy where you’re likely to get the best response.
  4. Answer letters immediately. Mom  is a dying breed of letter writers. She still pens several letters a week to friends and family. And what’s crucial is that she never lets a week pass before she answers a letter. People appreciate her promptness. In marketing our services it’s vital to  respond to queries in a timely manner. It creates an aura of efficiency, eagerness, and professionalism.
  5. Be meticulous. Mom never let a speck of dust settle on her furniture. Her home was always immaculate. Even today she prides herself in doing the very best she can even though she is quite frail. The marketing lesson is that all your print, audio-video, and website materials must be carefully designed and first class.
  6. Monday is laundry day. Mom never multitasked. Each day of the week was set aside for specific chores whether it was laundry, baking, cleaning, or gardening. It’s easy to become hit-and-miss with our marketing.  Make sure you schedule marketing time each week and stick to it. Better yet, why not make Monday your marketing day?
  7. Be frugal and avoid debt. Mom was a child of the Great Depression. She never spent money she didn’t have and always looked for bargains and sales. She’s passed that fiscal conservatism on to me. I look for the most cost efficient ways to market my services. For example, this website/blog cost me all of twenty bucks a year. I avoid “gadgets” and constant upgrading and use my equipment and software as long as it still does the job.
  8. Don’t put on airs. Mom can’t abide pretentiousness or arrogance. There’s a good marketing lesson here. Avoid overselling or hyping your services. People can smell phoniness a mile off.

Thanks, Mom. You’ve taught me well.

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13 Responses to Eight Lessons My Mom Taught Me About Marketing.

  1. Dear Dan,
    As always, thanks for being so practical!
    Indeed, your Momma taught you well. And bless her for it!
    Looking forward to meeting you at the APH Conference!
    Best wishes,

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Eight Lessons My Mom Taught Me About Marketing. « Dan Curtis ~ Professional Personal Historian -- Topsy.com

  3. What a b-e-a-u-tiful lady! Although I sometimes have trouble keeping up with my newsletter reading, I read this one from start to finish. Nice job, Dan.

  4. Dan, I love how you used your mother’s teachings as valuable lessons for us. Case in point is that my hubby & I were heading out to dinner one night when I noticed I had splattered something from the hummingbird feeder onto my shirt.

    I told him to wait a few minutes while I changed, even tho he said it looked fine. It just didn’t feel right to go out, even to a casual place looking like that.

    As it turned out, we ran into a very influential person from our community and I was especially glad to have heeded my own mother’s admonition to pay attention to how I look.

    Your lessons are a wonderful reminder of Mom. Thanks as always for your delightful suggestions.

    Beth LaMie

  5. Although I have grown up and lived all of my life across the Pacific Ocean from you and your mum, Dan, the lifetime lessons our mothers taught us are almost identical.
    I often referred to a mythical Mum’s Manual when my own two children were growing up eg “Sorry, Ken, but rule # 2 says that you must wash your hands before dinner”. We both laugh about it now that he is an adult in his 30′s!

  6. Dan, thanks for the reminder about how relevant your Mother’s ideas apply to marketing our businesses. It’s amazing how smart they were with so little formal schooling. I guess the School of Hard Knocks was all they needed!

    Beth LaMie

  7. Your mom truly is a wise woman. Great advice!

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