Guest Post by: Maria Pergolino

Just under one month ago Daniel Burstein, esteemed marketer and Director of Editorial Content for MECLABS, emailed me and a group of other marketing bloggers asking, “if you had one last blog post to write, what would it say?” His question was based on “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch.

This final lecture of a well-respected professor of computer science has been viewed tens of millions of times, because it is inspiring and filled with many life lessons that are applicable to almost everyone.

I had watched it a while back, but the request for this blog post prompted me to view it again.

The request from David was to write my last blog post. However, I’m not always the best at following instructions, so instead I’m going to write about what Randy Pausch said during his last lecture that should benefit marketers with some of my own commentary on how it fits to the marketing I do every day.

6 Things marketers can all learn from Randy Pausch (though there are many more!):

Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.

I think this speaks well to marketing and competition. Often, we work so hard to achieve just a little more than others, and sometimes we may think it was not worth all the extra energy. For marketing, this means sending timely email follow-ups, creating true thought leadership even when it does not directly promote our product, coming up with 100 ideas even if the organization may only accept one, and being an innovator and not just a follower. It is in these brick walls that we have to climb that we can push the awareness of our products further, ensure our companies reputation is a little bit stronger, and focus in on the proper segments just a little bit better.

You have to get the Fundamentals down or the fancy stuff won’t work.

Do you remember Porter, the 4 P’s and Cialdini’s Influence from college? The foundations of marketing are a huge part of long-term marketing success as they save you from making many of the mistakes that have already been made. By knowing and relying on the fundamentals, you can spend your time working on the creative, innovative, and strategic parts of marketing that keep us excited about this field of work.

When there is an elephant in the room, introduce them.

If you are the one person who works for a company that has the perfect product, delivers it error and damage free every time, and supports it without flaw, then this is not for you. For every other marketer out there, let’s all realize that the products we represent can’t be perfect. It’s in the flaws of our products that our customers really see the personality of our company. So, let’s agree that instead of hiding the elephant in the room that we find ways to show how our companies go above and beyond when our products aren’t perfect.

An example for me would be Marketo’s trust site, where we transparently show our great up-time and deliverability – but also if we have had any downtime or system interruption. The great part about showing your ‘elephant’ is that you also get a chance to show how you improve them or work around them to ensure customer success.

We learn from our students.

For marketers, this should say: We learn from our customers. Let’s start with- wow, can you believe we live in a time when we can get feedback from our customers real-time through 2.0 technologies? This information is like gold. Before this, we would have had to embark on large surveys, waiting months for customer feedback, sometimes after it is too late to make changes. Instead of ignoring tweets or disregarding email suggestions by customers, let’s embrace this information to make both our company and marketing stronger. Let me be clear though, I don’t think the listening is just a job for product marketing or support, I think each one of us can learn from our customers, and can use what we learn to make our work better.

Work hard.

If you know me you won’t be surprised that this stood out to me. I believe that choosing a profession that you spend most of your life working at isn’t something you take lightly, and that you need to work hard to ensure you constantly grow and improve at your craft. I also believe it is my job to help others so that they can reach their potential. Working hard isn’t an option in my mind- it’s a critical piece of corporate success for fast growing companies.

There is so much more during Pausch’s presentation that could be used for this blog post. He comments on how we should all be grateful for those we work with and what others do, how a positive attitude can go a long way, and so much more. If you have an hour to spare to catch this great presentation, it will give you much more back than the time you spend watching.

Happy marketing!

PS – I am really looking forward to seeing the other posts today about the last Marketing blog post! I know mine wasn’t super fancy, but definitely sincere. I am sure we are going to see some great creativity today- and I’m super excited for it.

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