The Secret to Marketing Success

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If there's one secret to marketing success, it's this: attitude. I know…you were thinking data, or perhaps you were sure it was great creative, or segmentation or targeting, or channel mix, or “right time, right message, right customer.” Of course all of those are essential. But you'd be hard pressed to ensure you have the appropriate data, bold creative, or optimal strategy without the right attitude behind all of your marketing endeavors.

Why am I so sure of this? “Haven't you ever met a curmudgeonly, yet successful marketer?” you ask.

I'm certain that attitude underpins marketing success because the Direct Marketing News 2013 40 Under 40 award winners have both in spades (see “Got Game?”).

As I read about our winners' defining moments, words to live by, and best advice, it became abundantly clear that these young leaders let nothing stand in the way of their success—and the success of their companies and customers. Saying that they have a can-do attitude would be something of an understatement. Consider Adobe's Loni Stark: Pacing around a parking garage questioning her abilities after a setback, Stark had an epiphany. “If I questioned whether I was good enough, how could I ever convince someone else to give me a chance at something more? I vowed to never be the one to limit my own potential from self-doubt. I would shoot for the moon and let the world try to tell me otherwise.”

Stark is not alone in her determination. Jeremy Bloom, an Olympic skier and former NFL player, has led his current team at Integrate to double revenues in only one year. At only 30, RadiumOne's Gurbaksh Chahal is on his third company—after selling the first two for $40 million and $300 million, respectively.

BLK24's Carrie Chitsey, a poker aficionado who's also on company number three, says, “The only person who defines your success is you. There is never a good excuse for obstacles; there is always a solution if you are determined to succeed.”

Got attitude?

Being driven to succeed is only one part of the attitude equation. Two others are positivity and empathy. Consider the advice of Wacarra Yeomans of Responsys: “Be firm on things that matter, fair with your people, and always the first to smile.” Or the approach that Horizon Media's Gene Turner takes: “I emphasize to our team that our clients' successes should be our successes and their pain points should be our pain points.”

Ingrid Lindberg of Prime Therapeutics sums it up well in her personal motto: “Have the patience of a saint, the heart of a lion, and the tenacity of a street fighter.”

Reading about the positive attitudes behind the great successes of our 2013 40 Under 40 winners left me energized and inspired. I'm certain it will do the same for you.

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