Learning the same lessons again and again

You may find fault with the idea that wisdom comes with age, but there’s a tendency among many younger people in business to assume that lessons learned in the past have little value when applied to today. That’s especially true when it comes to marketing.

It’s true that many social media channels have been developed relatively recently. But the basic psychology that makes them work is as old as humanity itself. Skilled marketers know that the medium is far less important than the message being conveyed … and how that message reaches the audience.

In other words, you might be more likely to send a text to a prospective customer in place of a long direct mail letter. However, the tactics that were used in that direct mail letter can be just as powerful in that text. The recipient’s emotions and actions are governed by the same forces that affected their counterparts a generation ago.

We don’t buy things because someone posted the details on social media or put them on a website. We buy them because we think they’ll fulfill a need we have or help us overcome a challenge. Maybe they’ll make us feel smarter, safer, more confident, or less fearful. Maybe they’ll make our work more efficient or more profitable.

Persuasion, propaganda, and salesmanship may sound like old-fashioned concepts that don’t belong in the gee-whiz world of new technology. But those fundamental understandings and strategies are as effective as ever. Marketers who combine that time-proven knowledge with new channels will dominate their competitors.

Of course, some people will scoff as they read that statement, claiming that anything older than them must be obsolete and useless. I wish them well, because they’re going to make a lot of mistakes before they discover the truth in that knowledge. I just hope they aren’t making those mistakes at your expense.

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