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I’ve worked in marketing for many years, and I’ve lived through the entire coming of age of digital marketing. I have done it all. I am humbled and honoured to have had the opportunities I have had, to learn (the hard way usually) and to hone my craft.

My 20 year old self (an aspiring graphic designer) working at StarTech.com had to perform a manually implemented “fax” campaign. I had to literally print out hundreds of personalized letters to prospects and fax them one at a time. 20 year old me was not happy, but 40 year old me is thankful for that one.

Why?

I believe it started me on a sometimes rocky path that has result in several behavioural traits that have really paid off.

When I review which behaviours or traits have most often afforded me success it’s easy to pick out the most important.

I always keep in mind these four key behaviors:

1 – Don’t be romantic about the medium or the platform

It’s important to remind yourself that the medium you most enjoy or the social platform you like the most isn’t always your best option.

I see this mainly in younger marketers who ignore the numbers to pursue a romantic vision of what “should” work. They play in Instagram when maybe a simple text email campaign is your best bet. One is fun, one is not. But one works when the other might not.

Don’t let yourself become too attached to anything.

2 – Set aside time to try new things

Similar to the romantic view, is the reliance on your tried and true.

Be open to the fact that there might be better options out there and afford yourself the time and energy to try your hand at it.

Be open to the fact that your vision of what’s going to work best isn’t always right.

Try other things sometimes.

3 – Don’t be afraid to fail

I was luckily a very average C student. Lucky because the fear of failure died long before I hit the work force. I had already had a proverbial punch in the face and survived it….lots of times.

Just like you should always try new things, you shouldn’t worry if it doesn’t work like you had hoped.

At the very least you’ve gained experience. Experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.

4 – Always be practicing

Always aim to be the best when it comes to actually implementing any type of marketing campaign. From top to bottom, inside and out.

I’ve worked with teams who relied on me for things like understanding the in’s and out’s of the CRM but that’s not the right mentality. The right mentality is to know it better than anybody.

You should never be fancy.

Even if you have a team of specialists in an area you still need to be a practitioner.

You always need to be willing and able to roll up your sleeves and do some old fashioned hard work

Bonus thought: It’s Not About Skill

Skill is often overrated. People think that others are “particularly talented” in marketing, or have an “innate sense”, but skill is just really applied acquired knowledge.  Anyone can be skillful at something, you just have to put the time in.

These four traits have helped me over the years to achieve repeatable results and large returns often on small budgets. None of them rely on “talent”, or “gut instinct”.

They don’t fail me when the chips are down.

Craig Oliphant is a marketing expert with over a decade of experience in digital marketing. He has built online campaigns for multi-million dollar companies, and seen massive returns from very small investments. He has figured out ways to achieve repeatable results.