The 3 Golden Rules of Marketing


One of the largest roadblocks to building an effective marketing program is the misconception that marketing is just one large brainstorming exercise and anyone can do it. There is, in fact, a method to the madness. While marketing is inherently a creative trade, you must take a data-driven, scientific approach in order to achieve the best results for your growing business.

A common pain point of startups (especially the ones that built by those with more technical backgrounds), is wanting to invest in marketing but not knowing how or where to start. Here at The Port, we work with businesses that face this challenge and help them overcome it using a formulaic, yet creative, approach.

In our Sales & Marketing blog series, we take you behind the scenes and explore the approaches that clients have found most effective in building their marketing program. Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, read on to learn the approaches that startups have found most effective in building a marketing program that reaches their buyers.

1. Add Value First, Sell After

This is one of the golden rules of marketing, and the key differentiator between sales and marketing. A common misconception is that marketing and sales are one and the same. here is overlap and the two functions must work together to drive conversions and achieve business results However, they exist on opposite sides of the funnel for a reason. The role of marketing is to engage and capture the interest of your audience, so that you can usher them smoothly into the hands of the sales team for conversion. To achieve this, you must first create value. This is where the 80/20 rule of content creation comes in. Following this rule, your marketing collateral — whether it is your pitch deck, one-pager, blog, or tweet — should be 80% value-add for the audience and only 20% a sales pitch. Simply put, lead with a strong value-add for your audience before making the ask.

How can you tell if something is a value-add? First of all, if you are leading with your product name or a product feature highlight… you’re probably doing it wrong. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, specifically the coveted *new leads* that you’re trying to capture. This person would a) have probably never heard of your product before, b) be distracted by all the other noise in their feed, and c) is wondering what’s in it for them. So show them what’s in it for them. Get inside their head, think of their pain points, then speak to them.

2 . Build a Consistent Brand Identity

There’s an ancient African proverb that says, “When the roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” For a company – whether a startup or large corporation, B2B or B2C, or otherwise – the roots are the brand. This is because the brand is where all your credibility is built. This includes the quality of your product, the responses of your customer service team, the interactions of your client success team, and your tone and voice across your channels, to name a few.

Consistency is key. Your brand is created by the entire ecosystem surrounding your product and company. consistency across this ecosystem is what will begin building and reinforcing your company’s image, and in turn translates into the trust your customers have in your company. Another proverb claims, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”  When applied to building a consistent brand for your business, this means that every touch point and every interaction matters – from a customer service call to a cold email to a Facebook post. Consistency is key because above all, it builds trust with your audience. It is simply human to seek consistency and safety; just as we want the friends and family in our life to be consistent in the way they interact with, support, and love us, we want the same for the brands and companies that we purchase and use.

3. Understand Your Audience

This one is fairly straightforward, but often overlooked in practice. If you are a startup, you may find yourself so buried in product building and sales calls that you have not taken that step back and looked at your product with unfamiliar eyes. You need to do this to better understand your audience. Companies often think they can get by with going with their gut to reach their audience. L is a numbers game. Companies need to use research, testing (like A/B testing), surveys, and many other tools to see what their audience is most receptive to.

Taking a step back to better organize your buyer personas to understand your audience will give you a big leg up (and also save you a lot of time). To do this, simply spend an hour or two before you start firing off blog posts or emails, and do a simple buyer persona exercise to hone in on your persona categories and your audience. From here, you’ll be able to speak their language and create messaging that resonates specifically with them.

Quickly Improve Your Marketing Strategy

Looking to organize your marketing strategy? Whether you are a startup or established corporation, we have a simple and effective way for you to start understanding your buyer personas, built from an exercise that is popular amongst the startups and founders we work with. Our Buyer Persona Worksheet & Exercise was created specifically for founders, business owners, and teams to get into the minds of their target audience to start speaking their language and creating compelling messaging that truly resonates.

Download the Buyer Persona Exercise & Worksheet today to start ramping up your marketing efforts and reach the audiences that are waiting for you.