Marketing today is much more complicated than marketing twenty years ago, I get it! Monitoring and analysis no longer relies on a clipping service* and a calculator. Responsiveness is now measured in real-time, not in days (or even months) and social media continues to evolve at the speed of light. However, in my humble opinion, there are still some marketing fundamentals that hold true today. In honor of our 20th Anniversary, I want to share my list of 20 oldies but goodies (in no particular order):

1. Repetition

No matter what technique, repetition is – and will always be – king. The opportunity to promote your consistent message across platform is key.

2. Segmenting

If you’re talking to the wrong audience, it doesn’t matter what method or technology you use.

3. Testing

Without testing multiple scenarios, we can’t strategically map out the most promising next steps.


Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats Analysis still comes first. No one wants to waste money on the wrong direction, not then – not now!

5. Strategy

A strategy outlines your overall game plan for how you’ll find and attract customers. The tools available has changed, but not the concept.

6. 80/20 

This might be one of the oldest marketing rules. 80 percent of revenue will come from 20 percent of core customers.

7. Branding

Developing and maintaining a consistent brand has always been paramount. Beyond a logo, a brand lives and evokes a feeling among clients.

8. Headlines

In the ‘60’s Ogilvy said, “On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.” This is even more true today as headlines are delivered across multiple screens among an on-the-go audience.

9. Taglines

A catchy, short phrase has always worked to help keep businesses in the forefront of people’s minds. The Nike “Just Do It.” tagline was introduced way back in 1998 and still as strong today as it was back then.

10. Copy

Content has always mattered and still does. Never use pretentious jargon and don’t try to be too clever.

11. Clients

Align your client list with people that share your same values and never lower your standards for the sake of the almighty dollar. Some people are toxic and it transcends through every project. Just avoid them!

12. Ethics

Marketers have always had a great responsibility to tell the truth and keep things honest. Stay the course.

13. Engagement

Effective marketing strategies have always been those that motivate behavior. Don’t talk at customers – encourage them to be a part of the brand story.

14. People

No matter what year it is, marketers must see consumers as complete human beings with all the same dimensions that they have. Appeal to their senses.

15. Storytelling

Good storytelling has always mattered. Hey, the first cavemen communicated by painting stories on cave walls!

16. Memorability

A message that inspires, makes us laugh or rings true has always resonated with audiences.

17. Consistency

Consumers should have a unique consistent experience throughout their interactions with your company. Regardless of platform, be consistent.

18. Clutter

Simplicity has always ruled. The simpler the message, the easier it is for customers to make conclusions about the data.

19. Direct mail

It worked 20 years ago and it still does! Latest stats show direct mail household response rate is 5.1% (compared to .6% email and.4% social media).

20. The rule of three

An age-old principle applying to everything from writing to economics. For marketers, the “Marketing Rule of Three” is no less true today than 20 years ago.

*clipping service: For those of you too young to remember a clipping service provided clients with copies of media content from newspapers and magazines.