Marketing Strategy – What Is It and Where Can I Get One?

Regardless of size and industry, every business requires an effective marketing strategy but many make the mistake of overlooking this essential aspect of business planning. A marketing strategy works by defining the objectives and goals of a firm’s marketing efforts, covering everything from demographics to budget management.

Creating a marketing strategy for the first time can be overwhelming and the prospect of doing something new and unfamiliar can lead to frustration and procrastination. However, by following a simple set of guidelines it is possible to create a marketing plan that when put into action can improve the profitability of your company and allow you to focus you efforts on other aspects of running your business.

First steps

The first hurdle that firms face when creating a marketing strategy is establishing where they are in the first instance. Before going on to plan future objectives it is important to make an assessment of the company’s current position on its marketing efforts and expenditure.

Establish current business output and market share

A range of things should be considered when making these first steps but the most significant factors will most likely by your firm’s current business output and market share within the relevant industry. By establishing these important aspects it is easier to set realistic yet challenging goals for your firm to aim for. This is a vitally important aspect of a marketing strategy as it provides a benchmark from which your firm may be assessed further down the line.

Establish desired business output and market share

With your current position already evaluated, you will want to set your business goals and objectives as to how you want to grow these factors. An example of these may be that you wish to expand business output or divert attention to slightly different section of market share. These objectives should be set to timescales to enable you to come back and evaluate how well you approached these aims.

Who are your customers?

In contrast to a business strategy, marketing strategy should be aimed not at production or product design but instead solely on whom you want to buy your product. For this reason, much of a marketing strategy should be based on information about who is buying your products and how they are interacting with your brand. These can be very simple datasets such as the age and gender of your current audience, to more advanced information, such as time of day they are most likely to buy.

Who do you want to be your customers and how will you reach them?

It is also important to establish a target demographic. In some cases this may be similar to your product or service’s current demographic, but you may also wish to try tailoring your marketing strategy with the intention of appealing to a new audience. In doing this you will wish to consider what the most appropriate forms of marketing for reaching your target demographic may be. These will vary from product to product but the use of digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter should not be ignored. Each potential strategy should be analysed based on their relative cost and predicted effectiveness.

What are your overall aims and objectives?

Once you have established your target demographic and decided on an appropriate range of strategic approaches, you will need to create a list of goals and objectives. This is undoubtedly the most important aspect of any marketing strategy as it will dictate the direction of your firm’s entire marketing efforts. These objectives should all be quantifiable to some extent as it is important to keep track of progress. These objectives can include everything related to marketing, such as increases to sales, income or changes in staffing levels or acquiring larger premises.

Collect data to gauge progress

As well as setting milestones for your marketing objectives, it is also important to collect the relevant data so that you can accurately assess your progress. In order to do this effectively you may wish to allocate aspects of the data collection process to other members of your team. It may also be beneficial to outsource such tasks to a professional marketing firm who have experience in running marketing campaigns for firms of all sizes.


With all your objectives and appropriate marketing approaches established, it is important to summarise your strategies in a clear and concise document. Having a physical point of reference is essential in ensuring your firm adheres to your plans and keeps pushing for the chosen goals. Creating a full marketing strategy can be a time consuming process but when done well, it will save time in the long run. It will also ensure that any investment made into marketing will be spent in a contiguous direction, which will increase your return on any time or money invested.

Mastering the 80/20 Rule to Increase Your Marketing Performance and Profits

Many business owners are familiar what is called the “80/20 Rule,” which refers to the principle that 80% of results and productivity are derived from 20% of the time and effort. If this is true, then what about the other 80% of time and effort spent?

Unfortunately the majority of this is wasted, in terms of both time and money – a phenomenon that is so common it has been the subject of a great deal of satire. In the film Office Space, for example, the main character tells the corporate consultants who are interviewing him about his daily performance that on any given week, he probably only does about 15 minutes of real, actual work.

Although the butt of the joke in that film is corporate America at large, it’s point is informative. Most entrepreneurs spend far too much time working on tasks that could be much more effectively delegated or outsourced, dealing with “crisis situations” (often more perceived than real), or responding to email.

Often these habits are born out of a mindset of responsiveness, but when productivity is actually measured in terms of hours and money it is easy to prove that answering each email or dealing with each inquiry as it comes is actually a handicap. At the end of the day, too many business people have spend so much time dealing with the minutiae that they have accomplished little or nothing that will actually help grow their business.

Let’s say you have valued your professional time at $50 per hour. How many tasks do you repeatedly handle that someone else could be paid $10-$15 per hour, for instance, to accomplish? Every hour you are spending on these tasks is time that could be better spent on market research, content creation and strategic planning. It is about making your time as proactive as possible, rather than reactive.

Below are some simple strategies for reallocating your time and efforts for peak productivity.

1. Block Your Time

Work in dedicated time blocks and do not allow any distractions. Close your email, social media accounts, and silence or turn off your phone, even if only for a half hour or an hour at a time. By increasing your focused effort you can dramatically increase how much you can accomplish within a given time period. Think of your work time blocks as appointments; you would not stand up an important business meeting with someone else, so give the same respect to an appointment with yourself.

2. What is The Most Direct Route to Profitability

It’s extremely common for entrepreneurs to stray from their marketing and professional or operational objectives. Maintaining clear focus is key to growth. Each day you should start with the goal in mind: what is the most direct way for me to meet my goals and become profitable today? Prioritize your action steps accordingly; beginning with the most important and then working down the list from there.

3. Focus on Systems Creation and Automation

What in your business is simply “in your head”? If it’s only in your head, it cannot be trained and replicated, which again equates to squandered time and effort. Spend time each day or at minimum each week with a focus on systems creation. Anything that can be automated and/or systematized in your business will much more effectively leverage your energies.


Look To Provide Greater Value

It is always important to realize that what makes your business run is your clientele. Your patience, your customers etc. Therefore, time spent working on ways to test and enhance the value of what you provide them is very worthwhile. Look for new ways to nurture your relationships with existing clients as well as ways for increasing your value proposition to new and prospective clients and you are sure to see an increase in your bottom line.

By dedicating yourself to shifting the 80/20 ratio you will begin to develop the habits of the top level entrepreneurs, ultimately making yourself more successful but also allowing yourself greater professional satisfaction and time freedom.

To Do List For Building An Affiliate Marketing Business

The successful affiliate has a plan, follows up, and is consistent. Though much is said about what aspect of affiliate marketing is the most important, the truth is, it is all important and each step is necessary to build a successful affiliate marketing plan. Here is a good “To Do” list for affiliates. When you get one started and working, move to the next, but continue to nourish the ones you have set up. Don’t forget to add a few of your own plans to your list.

Begin immediately building your personal list. Nearly everything you do is directed towards building your own list of customers.

Educate yourself. Become an expert in your field. Know the products you plan to sell, become a master and know how to use them sideways and back. Know the websites you are affiliated with. Become very familiar with them so you can direct your visitors properly. Start a blog and post as you learn. Add links to the information you post with your affiliate codes.

Website. It’s a good idea to have a landing-place for your followers. Set up a website, start a blog, set up your own social networking sites, set up a squeeze page and perhaps, eventually, one of each.

Write articles. You can join article submission websites like EzineArticles. Submitting articles to these sites can be great for SEO if it is done correctly. You can put your links in the resource box. Write new articles often and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Focus on the problem and solutions people are looking for in the market.

Post, tweet, and pin it.Make useful and interesting comments on Forums. Utilize Facebook, LinkedIn, My Space, Web Boards, Twitter, Chat Rooms, Pinterest and others. Affiliate marketing forums of all kinds exist and you should become a regular. Look for questions people are asking and find the answers. Always be professional. Avoid unkind or lewd comments. Once you establish yourself, people will begin to trust your opinion and start clicking on your links.

Write an awesome review. People always want to read what a product does and how it will help them before they purchase. Make sure it is well written and simple to follow. Use screen shots of the software. Don’t forget a link, but don’t pepper it with links. One or two will do.

Write an eBook, something that will spread quickly. Produce a short 25 page report on a subject that you are an expert in. If you are not expert yet, study the forums; find out what people are asking and study. You can distribute your book all over the internet at a low price or free. Tell people they are welcome to give it away, sell it or put it on their website. You can kick it off yourself by selling it on eBay for a small amount. If your book is informative and useful and not filled with affiliate ads, it may spread quite well.

Post Videos on YouTube. YouTube has become the visual library of the internet. People go to YouTube for all sorts of questions. This is a quick way to build trust because people see or hear a real person. Google owns YouTube so you’ll be high in the rankings. Provide your link under the video.

Don’t limit your audience, but don’t go out of your league. Make a list of everyone who can use our product. For example, young people wanting to learn, those who trade as a hobby, those who trade as a side job, experts in the trading field, people who educate others, people who sell commodities, etc. Focus on the ones you can influence and help them, but don’t try to teach people who are more knowledgeable than you are how to trade. Just be yourself and be honest about what you are selling. Direct them to the website and let the experts at Gecko take over.

Blogs are a great way to socialize with others. Comment on other people’s blogs and leave a link to your blog. Offer to write articles for others and ask others to write for you. Offer real information, not just a nice post. Be yourself in your writing, but be your best self. You may enjoy slang but there are many people out there that may be offended by it, stay safe and avoid anything that can offend especially if you are guest on someone else’s blog. Also remember that you may be writing to a worldwide audience and local slang may not be understood. Be professional.

Submit your site to search engines and directories. There are services available like Pingler where you can notify each time you update your blog. You can use the word press plugin to create a sitemap which automatically notifies the major engines about your blog updates.

Use graphics and visual aids. Utilize banners, box shots and screen shots properly. If the company you are selling for has won awards, post them to create customer trust. Visual aids are as important as anything else you will do and an aid to everything you do.

Be a loyal customer. If you use the product yourself and let your readers know that you endorse it, this instills an overall sense of trust in the product to your customers.

The great thing about life is that we learn more as we experience more. The longer you are in the business the more you will learn what to do next. Trial and error are great teachers. Soon you will be the expert.

Becoming a Great Marketer: Invention vs. Upgrade

For background material to this article, we encourage you to first read “Viewpoint: The ‘invention illusion’ means new rarely is new” published last week on BBC News.

This week we’ll be presenting a model for identifying and reporting on inventions, innovations and the like. What makes something new, or can anything really be considered new at all?

Maybe any talk of inventions is mere fancy. Is it really truthful to say that anything today is really an invention? Maybe it is just a modification or update on a previous version? But as we will explain, it all has to do with a company’s willingness to benefit people in some new way. The innovation is in the new ways that this “old” invention can now benefit people.

Of foremost importance is to be truthful, especially in advertising. If this product doesn’t do what the marketers claim, then this is wrong. But if it does, then all the more so, the benefits should me made known to the world. But we need to keep things in the proper context, and not presume that these are new inventions exist without some history to them.

There is a question on what to do with those marketers who don’t want to admit the past? The best marketers are those that first make an admission (e.g. that this new product is just an updated version), but then proceed to details the reasons why it is still important to buy it. They are not pretending that this smartphone or tablet didn’t exist before in another form. The distinction is with regard to the anatomy of the upgrade, and how these new features can better peoples’ lives.


We need then a revolution of good, truthful marketers. While every marketer says they have something to say, the public increasingly only wants to listen to the truthful ones. People are tired of the false claims and promises. Instead, we’d all rather listen to truthful statements from people we trust. These marketers are also some of the most connected people you’ll ever meet. Not connected in terms of having large followings, but connected in that they are a people person among marketers. They really care about steering people in the right direction. The question then is not whether there is innovation, but rather which marketers should I listen to? Which ones are saying innovations that ring true? There is a famous marketer that once titled a book “all marketers are liars.” He later recanted, and amended it to read that “all marketers tell stories.” As we will explain, the first statement was probably a better start. But instead of how it was written, we would have worded it is “all marketers either tell the truth, or the opposite… “.

Marketers that don’t acknowledge the past are also extremely forceful in their claims. Aside from being untruthful, this forcefulness also tends to push people away. Another factor that pushes people away is pride. If a marketer thinks of themselves to be the best, even if their claims are truthful, their advice is still seen as something pushy. They should never think of themselves as being these great marketers. The moment they think themselves to be great is also the moment when they think of themselves as some innovation. They, like the products they market, should focus on the benefits. How they are benefiting others. Similar to smartphones, tablets, etc… they are not the first marketer to have ever existed on the planet.


There are three things needed to become a great marketer:

The first is that they are always keeping their eyes open to good stories (like a photographer who goes around with their camera). This is what people call an intuitive marketer. Not simply that they have smarts, but they intuitively sense what’s going on in the world. This is what Malcolm Gladwell refers to in The Tipping Point as the Mavens:

“Mavens are “information specialists”, or “people we rely upon to connect us with new information.” They accumulate knowledge and know how to share it with others.”(Wikipedia)

The second is that a marketer should be a happy, friendly person. Someone that people are naturally attracted to. This is what Gladwell calls the Salesmen:

“Salesmen are ‘persuaders’, charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills. They tend to have an indefinable trait that goes beyond what they say, which makes others want to agree with them.” (ibid)

The third is that the marketer acts quickly and in a proper way. He sees a news story, and he writes or speaks about it. His take on the story should be quick because he has a readership waiting to hear and benefit from what he has to say. But his take should not be too hurried as to be inaccurate. Both speed and accuracy are needed. Gladwell calls this third quality Connectors:

“Connectors, are the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. A connector is essentially the social equivalent of a computer network hub. They are people who ‘link us up with the world… people with a special gift for bringing the world together.’”

What then is a great marketer? The first is be truthful. To tell the truth, and tell it with alacrity. But in order to stay great, a marketer also can’t be swayed by public opinion. If he listens to the crowd, this will affect his very ability to judge stories intuitively. Even the best marketer can be swayed by voices in the crowd.

Keeping one’s eyes open to discover stories also means seeing the right things. But being swayed can also occur when a person receives praise. Even if the entire world tells you that you are a great marketer, you should view yourself as the worst. Great marketers need to be able to withstand this test. Not to accept praise for then his intuition will be lost.


Once he looks at the particulars of the upgrade, new version, etc… the great marketer then knows how to make sense of it. While his eyes are open to this story, so are thousands of others. What makes his take on the story any different or better than everyone else? What stands him apart from the rest of his fellow marketers, journalists and pundits?

Aside from developing his own perspective over time, the great marketer has learned how to ignore a great deal as well. He has learned not to be swayed by the voiced in the crowd. By separating himself from the myriad of opinion, he also feels certain that he has the best take on the situation. From his unique vantage point, he moves forward to respond to the story.

If the story is not a good story, then he doesn’t write or speak about it at all. The reason is simply because the story was faulty in some way. A great marketer has trained himself to only respond to those stories that have real merit to them. Maybe other marketers should speak about it, or maybe no other marketer should. Either someone else should write about it, or no one else should. In either case, the great marketer passes on those stories that don’t have long-lasting merit. This is also the reason why we didn’t find “all marketers tell stories” is a compelling remake. The fact that marketers “tell stories” is not the innovation here. What makes a great marketer so unique is that they can sense which are the good stories to tell.

A good marketer has a sense about what really is an innovation or new invention worth talking about. While it’s hard to push away stories that we see, this is the test of a great marketer. Whether or not he will act on his intuition, or be swayed by some external factor. His primary motivation should be whether this story will have a lasting, beneficial impact on people; or whether this is just something fleeting. This is what Gladwell calls the Stickiness Factor: “The specific content of a message that renders its impact memorable.” (ibid.)


The main point of this discussion is that a great marketer should go about with open eyes, looking for stories to write about. While looking for stories, he should also be sensitive to those stories that try to “cheat” you into thinking that they are something new. The real test is to spot stories that really add something of new benefit; even if the actual product is just an update of the previous version.

Let’s end with a story (yes a good story) about what it means to speak honestly in a public realm We’ll call these two people Tom and Sam.

Tom stole a very great sum of money from Sam, so Sam sued Tom. As a defense, Tom claimed that he had returned the money already. They came to the courthouse, and Tom was required to make an oath that he already returned the money. Before he took the oath, he handed his staff to Sam the plaintiff. Now inside the cane, Tom had put all the money that he owed Sam. After he swore that he had returned all the money, he took the cane back. But luckily enough, Sam was so angry that Tom had lied that he took the cane and threw it down to the ground. The force of the impact caused the cane to break, and all the money spilled out. Thus it was revealed that Tom had lied all along, and made the oath while Sam was holding the money. From this we learn that it’s not enough to just make an oath. It also needs to be made free of any trickery as well.

Being a great marketer means being truthful, but it also entails being free of any trickery. Perhaps the best way to prevent trickery is by realizing that being a great marketers, entails great responsibility. They have to feel like they can respond to the story in a way that no one else can. Because of their gifts for intuition, they are obligated to share their thoughts on the matter. They have to feel like their eyes are the ones most open to it. The first step is not to be swayed by false and pretentious stories. But once worthwhile stories are recognized, he should immediately write about them. The story takes his name, he is the one who “broke” the story.

The lesson from our story of Tom and Sam is that Sam revealed the true nature of the cane. At first, we may have thought that this cane belonged to Tom. But by “breaking the story” (literally), Sam revealed that really the substantial worth of this cane belonged to his all along.

All too often we see news of new products, new developments in the world, and we think that this “cane” belongs to someone else. In reality, though, it may be that this person is just holding onto the outside. Maybe the cache inside is left hidden for the great marketers among us to reveal. Maybe the greatest discovery behind this object is just waiting for this marketer to come.

The main thing is that great marketers be sensitive to deceit and falsehood, while keeping their eyes wide open. To separate from falsehood, but also learn to take on the responsibility to write and speak about those stories worth mentioning.



“Keep far away from anything false.” [Exodus 23:7]

While the context of this statement was said with regard to the judges of Israel, perhaps no quality is as central to task of a great marketer as truthfulness. The greater marketers distance themselves from speaking words that are untrue, the more people will want to listen to what they have to say.

This sentence in the Torah continues “Do not kill an innocent righteous man, for I will not acquit a wicked person.” Then the following sentence, “Do no accept bribery, for bribery blinds the clear-sighted and perverts the words of justice.” [Exodus 23:8] In addition to the attribute of truthfulness, these two other statements also relate to marketers.

When we begin looking for metaphors to explain Torah concepts, we look for those terms and phrases that seem a close approximation to the original. While nothing will match up 100%, by translating Torah messages into common-day vernacular, we are showing a creative way to relate to the text. While technically speaking, the Torah is only speaking about judges, by broadening our discussion to include the field of marketing, it gives us an added perspective on what the judges of Israel really stood for.

The Gemara brings thirteen explanations for the statement “Keep far away from anything false,” corresponding to the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy. This command is a general one that includes all the particular precepts explained in the Torah. This is why we explained that when anything “new” arises (like with a new case presented to a judge), the first thing a marketer should look for is how it benefits the public. “Mercy” also means to be compassionate.


As we mentioned, judgements need to be adjudicated from a point of truth. Everything a judge does must come from truth. In addition to our statement to separate from anything false, we have another connected verse, “Justice, justice you shall pursue.” [Deuteronomy 16:20]

Let’s first start by explaining the full nature of our verse, “Keep far away from anything false. Do not kill an innocent righteous man, for I will not acquit a wicked person.” How does Rashi explain this?

“From where do we derive [that in a case] where one has left the court after having been convicted and a person says: ‘I have evidence to suggest his innocence!’ that we bring him (the defendant) back? Because the Torah states (addressing the court) “Do not kill an innocent man.”

And although he may not be a righteous man for he has not yet been acquitted in court, nevertheless he is innocent from a death verdict for you must try to vindicate him. And from where do we derive [that in a case] where one has left the court after having been found innocent, a person says: ‘I have evidence to suggest his guilt,’ that we do not bring him back to court? Because the Torah states: Do not kill a righteous person!”

What is the reason that great marketers should also be optimistic in their explorations? We based our reasoning on this discussion. The “new evidence” on the scene is like a new product announcement, or a story breaking the news. The first thing a great marketer should look at is whether this information further supports the credibility of the previous version or not.

The opposite extreme is actually as this verse states, maybe this new product is a “smartphone killer” or a “printed book killer,” etc… But if people found smartphones or printed books to be worthwhile (i.e. innocent or clean) in the past, there is no mitzvah to find them guilty now. Instead, marketers should only accept new evidence if it further develops the prior version.

What does it mean to be “righteous” in this context? It means that if people find these things worthwhile and beneficial, why should I try to come and “kill” it for them? If anything, the marketer should help to further develop the concept along. As we explained in our Apple Turnaround Series, eventually people should be able to experience “apps” without the iPad; but that still doesn’t give us the right to “kill” iPads for the millions who currently use them.

What’s most important for a tzaddik (righteous) person is that he always considers himself as if he’s a rasha (wicked). Why is this? Because once he starts thinking himself to be righteous, then he loses all that he has gained through his service. We related this to the marketers who turn themselves into products (i.e. a product of their own self-worship).

A person shouldn’t say in his heart that “Hashem has given me good because I am a tzaddik.” This is like the great marketer who thinks that he has been given this privilege for some reason. As we explained, a person’s talents need to be put into the proper context. While marketers realize that there were many marketers before them, a tzaddik should see that his merits come as a result of the merit of previous generations, or some other reason.

We can also now explain our choice of the subtitle “Invention vs. Upgrade.” When a judge first decides whether to weigh in on a case presented to him, his first question is whether this is something new. Meaning, is this really a new case at all? Maybe it’s just new evidence brought after the fact?

If the judge (or marketer) sees this story as an “upgrade,” then as we said, the consideration becomes whether this new information further establishes the innocence of the previous version. The judge is not allowed to find someone guilty after they have been freed. So too, when millions have weighed in on the iPad and now hold one in their hands, a marketer shouldn’t come and simply discredit the whole notion of iPads or tablet computing.

As we will explain later, the real question is whether the judge should weigh in on the case at all. Even though the case is something new, does it have merit enough to adjudicate on it? This is like a marketer who simply passes by new stories because they lack some merit to them. For marketers, the greatest merit a story can have is that it provides some lasting benefit to people. While for a judge, in addition to separating from falsehood, they are also instructed by the verse, “Justice, justice you shall pursue.” Meaning, that if a case comes their way that could further justice, then perhaps the judge is obligated to take the case on. Especially if they are the most appropriate or fitting one to rule over the case.


What’s different about our take on “Mavens,” “Salesmen” and “Connectors”? According to the Ba’al Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic movement, these three modes of conduct prevent a person from becoming full of themselves. As mentioned in the article, it is the feeling of lowness that keeps a great marketer great.

The first level is the ability to always walk around with open eyes. While the photographer takes along a camera wherever they go, the marketers is always looking for a good story. But essential to the success at this stage is being sensitive to the needs of others. What story can the marketers write about better perhaps than anyone else? This is like the judge who agrees to take on a case because he desires to fulfill the command “justice, justice you shall pursue.” Just like a judge realizes that he is most capable to rule on a case, so too our marketer feels the same about some breaking story.

The second level is the Salesmen. The Ba’al Shem Tov explains this is a person that is always happy. Why is he happy? Because he see that what transpires during his activities is the result of Divine Providence (Hashgocha Pratis) from heaven. Because he is outside much of the day, he experiences “chance encounters” (i.e. revealed Divine Providence) more than others. It is in lieu of this that he is happy. The fact that people like to be around him is the result or effect. But the reason for the happiness is because he is always “listening” for a good story to unfold.

What is a Connector? The Ba’al Shem Tov uses the term “Deliberate Agility”. The marketer has to always be on the move doing things. He is focused, but he also doesn’t tarry when presented with some task to complete. This also relates to a judge. When a case is presented to him, and he agrees to rule on it, his ruling should be swift in coming. While the ruling needs to be precise and exacting, he also shouldn’t delay it unnecessarily. So too the quality that makes a marketer a “Connector” is their ability to respond swiftly and accurately to things they see. But in both instances, these quick rulings need to be carried out with great appropriateness and respect.


Now that we have spoken about keeping far away from anything false, we now can move to the next sentence in the Torah: “Do not accept bribery, for bribery blinds the clear-sighted, and perverts the words of justice.” [Exodus 23:8) and Rashi there "Do not accept bribery. Even if you intend to judge truthfully. And it is certainly [prohibited when you take a bribe] to pervert justice. For regarding the perversion of justice it has already been stated: “Do not distort justice!” Blinds the clear-sighted. Even if he is wise in the Torah and takes a bribe, his mind will ultimately become muddled and he will forget his learning and the light of his eyes will dim… ”

Why is it so important not to listen to the “voices in the crowd”? Because this affects one’s ability to stay clear-sighted and respond to stories appropriately. Like the judge who mustn’t accept bribes, it’s imperative for great marketers not to be swayed by public opinion, prestige, etc…

To be a “Maven” or “open-eyed” means first and foremost not to accept bribery. This can come in the form of actual money, or in many instances, from the praises and public admiration heaped upon great marketers or judges. In order to stay clear-sighted, however, it is imperative that these voices not affect one’s ability to market or judge appropriately. The Tanya of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi begins with this quote from the Talmud: “Even if the whole world says to you that you are a tzaddik (righteous), consider yourself similar to a rasha (wicked) person.” Meaning, a person should never feel themselves above the effects of bribery or other sins. In order to stay clear-sighted, to judge or market truthfully and intuitively, a person should distance themselves from any form of false flattery.

What about when a marketer does weigh in on the story? This is like a judge who senses something wrong with the case. Perhaps the witnesses are lying; or the one bringing the case is instructing the witnesses to say certain things; or the judge senses something else wrong, but the reason is hidden from him. In all these instances, the judge removes himself from ruling because of the injunction to keep far away from falseness. We explained this as a marketer who has a sense for which stories have true and lasting benefit. Every day there are hundreds of press releases and new stories coming out. The astute marketer will know which ones have real merit to them. Which are truly unique and worthwhile to weigh in on, and which seem like something worthwhile, but really are lacking in some way. As we mentioned in the article, this is what Gladwell calls the “Stickiness Factor.”


The first mitzvah, the first of the three categories we mentioned from the Ba’al Shem Tov, is to always keep your eyes open. An essential part of attaining this quality is though being sensitive to trickery, as with the judge who sense something awry in a potential case, or the marketer who senses something lacking in a breaking story. While the entire Tanya teaches us to distance ourselves from trickery, there is one thing that is good and praiseworthy to trick: our evil inclination. Every person has a good inclination and an evil inclination. Just as a person is open to seeing truth, so too should each person be open to know how to trick their evil inclination.

While it is praiseworthy to try and outmaneuver our evil inclination, usually it is the evil inclination telling us that we are a tzaddik. This is why we titled this section “Great Marketer, Great Responsibility.” Like the judge who sees the responsibility to either accept (“justice, justice you shall pursue”) or step away from (“keep far away from anything false”) a case, the marketer needs to keep this in mind as well. By seeing themselves as a public figure vested with responsibility, this will help them to counteract the claims of their evil inclination that they are a great marketer, etc…

The story that we mentioned at the end is called the “Staff of Rabba.” The Ben Ish Chai asks why should the story be called in the name of the judge who ruled on it, and not on the trickster in the story (“Tom”)? Although there is much to say about this story, the basic answer is that Rabba should have known that something was amiss. When “Tom” handed his cane to “Sam” instead of simply putting it on the ground, Rabba should have realized that there was something valuable inside this otherwise ordinary looking cane. This is why we explained that the marketer (or journalist) who first breaks the story also becomes synonymous with it. The story is known as the “Cane of Rabba” because Rabba was expected to notice the particulars of the story. So too, a marketer who first breaks a story, was perhaps most sensitive to the inner details than millions of others. This was a creative, positive spin on this episode in line with the teaching that a person shouldn’t rule on a matter of Jewish law unless he has first faltered on it in some way.