In the current state of the marketing world, just a few thousand followers on Twitter or Instagram can earn you the title of “thought leader.” There are plenty of people out there who claim to have secret knowledge or hidden formulas for the perfect campaign. However, there is a certain “it” factor that puts the elite leaders in a league of their own.
So what makes a marketing genius? Is it their commitment to hard work, special talents, or their ground-breaking ideas? While all of these things certainly play a part, the secret to their success goes beyond just gifts and good ideas.
“Wantrapreneurs” can certainly learn from these modern-day marketing geniuses and see how their traits, habits, and focuses all work together to define their success.
- They challenge convention
Sticking to the status quo is not a common quality among most successful marketers. Many are self-starters with unique back-stories and non-traditional business approaches, and they certainly don’t recommend following the crowds.
Ultra-successful business consultant and online educator Sam Ovens certainly strays from the norm when it comes to business advice. In an interview with Huffington Post he said, “I like contrarians and have no interest in hiring ‘normal’ people. Hiring normal people gets normal results, and who wants that?
Sam founded Consulting.com, an online educational program that teaches others to start their own business consulting program. This venture took Ovens from completely broke to a multi-millionaire in just a few short years. He credits much of his success to embracing the non-conventional, especially when it comes to adding new recruits to his business.
There is so much noise out there in the marketing realm that if you are just following the crowd, you are certainly going to get lost in the shuffle. It takes more than a creative idea to get your brand to stand out; eschewing the status quo altogether is what makes great marketing over good marketing.
- They deliver answer-driven messaging
Successful marketers focus on providing value to their audience through the content they release. They give advice, share personal experiences, discuss new ideas, etc. Their expertise and authority is easily demonstrated by their knowledge. The messages deliver information that is relevant, and more importantly, actionable.
Lots of marketing leaders turn to content marketing to effectively engage with their audiences. Neil Patel, Co-Founder of the companies that gave marketers the popular analytics tool Crazy Egg and message plugin Hello Bar (which literally hundreds of thousands of sites have installed) is famous for his in-depth marketing strategies and smart tips on everything from SEO to conversion rate optimization.
Patel is in the business of sharing information through his personal website and blog; of which features a wide range of articles and podcasts. A good deal of his messaging works to address common questions posed by those new to the marketing industry while providing result-oriented advice.
Ultimately, when people view content, they want answers. Giving the audience something valuable they can walk away with is perhaps the best way to establish yourself as industry leader and an expert resource.
- They adapt quickly
Perhaps the one thing that remains constant in the marketing world is the concept of rapid change itself. From new challenges to emerging trends, staying relevant requires marketers to be flexible and adaptable.
Serial entrepreneur Benny Luo knows exactly what it means to roll with the punches and adapt to a quickly changing market. He started out working for Dell and Apple in his early tech career. But, he soon learned there was a great opportunity when it came to affiliate marketing. While it earned him large sums at the time, the market quickly matured, best practices became outdated (and some tactics were actually illegal). The result left Luo down on his luck and running out of options. Instead of surrendering, he moved on to the next trend he saw coming: social media advertising.
Since then, he has gone on to start several successful marketing and consulting companies such as Next Shark, New Rockstars, Discover Me, and The Other Asians. Luo knows what it’s like to experience great success and great failure. Instead of seeing failures as mistakes, he sees them as lessons to do better in the next round. As he put it, “I realized that after each failure, I always gained some valuable knowledge of things I could apply to or avoid in my next project.”
Becoming a successful leader means you need to be willing to take some chances, make mistakes, and play the hand you’re dealt. Adapting to the changing world and being willing to try something new are exceptional traits that elite marketing leaders must possess.
- They are everywhere
Take it from Thomas Edison, one of the earliest marketing geniuses in modern history. He lived and breathed by the philosophy that branding is everything. The prolific inventor was also obsessively devoted to creating a brand associated with his name and face. He went to great lengths to ensure it was plastered everywhere. Today’s marketing leaders still do this today (although maybe not as tenaciously as Edison).
The reason these marketing geniuses are leaders is because they constantly get their name out there and diversify their channels to consistently reach wider audiences. One of the most famous names in marketing these days is Gary Vaynerchuk, and he certainly does his best to keep his name in the forefront of people’s minds. From speaking at innumerable events, writing best sellers, being highly active on social media, to hosting Apple’s first original podcast, Vaynerchuk makes sure his name and face are seen everywhere, and for good reason.
Marketing leaders recognize the importance of diversification. While focus is critical in this field, getting trapped into just one source or channel is limiting. True marketing geniuses see the importance of getting involved with multiple ventures and expanding their horizons.
Today’s marketing geniuses are admired for their ambition and intelligence, but it is their character that truly sets them above the rest. These leaders are committed to their craft and furthering their success. They don’t let the negative press get them down or hold them back. They focus on pushing the envelope, breaking the mold, and providing meaningful content for their followers. Above all else, these are the traits that make them truly great.
Pratik Dholakiya is the Co-Founder of E2M, a full service digital marketing agency and PRmention, a digital PR agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Growth Hacking, Entrepreneurship and Digital PR. Pratik has spoken at NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, and other major events across Asia. As a passionate marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge on publications like Search Engine Land, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web and the Huffington Post to name a few. He has been named one of the top content marketing influencers by Onalytica three years in a row.