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Methods are many. Principles are few.

June 20, 20243 min read

One of the many benefits of working in marketing is getting to work with amazing subject-matter experts to create content.

This week, I got to record a webinar with a few well-renowned HR leaders who discussed improving the employee experience.

It was a panel discussion hosted by the amazing Donnebra McClendon and featured Katie Meyers and Tru Pettigrew (Former C-Suite at the Minnesota Timberwolves). It will air live on July 16th.

It was pre-recorded, so I got to sit in and listen. It was just a few of us on a Zoom call. 

It was full of great conversations, but toward the end of the session, Tru referenced a quote that really stood out and resonated with me. 

It was one of those quotes that you think about for a few hours or days. One that is so darn applicable to most things in both business and life.

“Methods are many. Principles are few.”

He used this quote in the context of improving the employee experience. 

But as a marketer, this is also more true than ever right now.

It's easy to become obsessed with the dozens of methods you could use to accomplish something. 

But when you take a step back, there are usually just a few timeless principles that always apply. Principles that, when followed, allow the “many methods” to easily fall into place.

Things are changing incredibly quickly in marketing and business right now. There are more channels and tactics used to reach customers than ever before.

The seemingly endless amount of methods push us into obsessing over the perfect one to use. And it can easily distract from the core principles that must be followed.

We're still trying to do the same thing as marketers always have. Effective marketing uses the same exact principles that marketers 100 years ago relied on.

Timeliness principles like:

  • Deeply understand your customer.

  • Tell a story that resonates with them.

  • Provide value before asking for anything.

  • Show them you can help solve their problems.

It doesn't matter the tactic, channel, or industry trends. These few principles have remained unchanged, and probably won’t change any time soon.

The people we market to today have the same fears, desires, and tendencies that humans have always had.

I'm a victim to the obsession over the “many methods" myself.

Should we run a webinar or in-person event? How are we going to track the amount of pipeline this channel generated? How will we know which ad generated the lead? Do we send direct mail or just send emails? Do we do both?

These are very important considerations. But they don't matter if you lose sight of the principles while trying to come up with the perfect method.

I’ve noticed that Dave Gerhardt has recently spoken about this a lot. People are often looking for the perfect tactic. But there is no perfect tactic. Any of them can work, as long as you follow the core principles of effective marketing.

You can pick the right channels, tactics, and track everything to perfection. But if you lose sight of what you’re actually trying to do, the methods you use won’t matter.

There will be a new tactic that pops up tomorrow. Try it, test it, and see if it works. But don’t lose sight of the principles that will likely be here forever.

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