The Wisdom in Words

My husband and I have a recurring argument and no, it’s not over the remote. We subscribe to The Week, a weekly publication featuring national and international news with editorials from various journalists with an array of viewpoints. It features reviews of new movies, music and plays, and even houses that are on the market with a common theme. We fight over who gets to read it first. And while this isn’t a plug for The Week, you can check it out here.

One of my favorite sections is called Wit and Wisdom. It’s a small section where you will find quotes from a variety of people, some famous, some not. Many make me laugh, a few make me sad, but the majority, make me think. I’ve listed a few below and because this blog is supposed to be about marketing, I’ve tried to relate these words of wisdom to marketing.


“He has only half-learned the art of reading who has not added to it the more refined art of skipping and skimming.”

Arthur Balfour quoted in The Wall Street Journal

Do you know you have 5 seconds to get people to continue reading your letter and that the P.S. is the second most read part of a letter? According to Alan Rosenspan, “People are not long readers anymore. They will read something if it’s interesting, but they like their information summarized.”(Target Marketing March 23, 2011) We are bombarded with messages today. The average American takes in over 3000 marketing messages in a day (Source: Superprofile)! So why should they pay attention to your message or ad?

“A man’s accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail.”

John Foster Dulles, quoted in United Press International

I’m an avid reader; whenever I find an error or a typo in a book, I wonder how it happens. I am sure it was read and proofed many times before printing, but someone was not paying attention to details. That‘s why having a proven process in place for proofing, press checks and final approvals is so important for achieving measurable marketing goals.

“He who is in love with himself has at least this advantage-he won’t have many rivals.”

Scientist George Christoph Lichtenberg, quoted in Forbes

In meeting with potential clients, do you drone on and on about your company? “We‘re the best, blah, blah, blah?” Or do you listen and take the time to learn how best you can help them with their marketing needs?

“The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, quoted in the Merced, Calif., Sun-Star

Experience. Need I say more?

“Every wrong attempt discarded is a step forward.”

Thomas Edison, quoted in ScienceDaily.com

Do you continue to test; offers, lists, timing, creative, etc.? Or are you OK with the status quo? It is perfectly fine to fail as long as you learn something from it. Alan Rosenspan explains, “If you are not testing and you’re not in a continuous improvement mode, you’re really stepping back. You’re not really succeeding.” (Target Marketing March 23, 2011)

“It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.”

John Steinbeck, quoted in the Associated Press

Bottom Line, are you meeting your client’s needs? Do you have raving fans? Do you expect great things from yourself?

I hope you will take these few bits of Wit and Wisdom and put them to good marketing use.

P.S. Here are a few more quotes I enjoyed:

“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.”

Jean de La Fontaine, quoted in Real Simple

“For most of history, ‘Anonymous’ was a woman.”

Virginia Woolfe, quoted in HuffingtonPost.com

“Every calamity is to be overcome by endurance.”

Virgil, quoted in the Montreal Gazette

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