16 Nuggets from People Smarter Than Me

I have the utmost good fortune to have hung around a lot of smart business people.

Whenever I hear one of these people say something insightful, I write it down.

I’ve amassed a collection of these wise crumbs and leavings.

As a look back, here are sixteen things from my storeroom. I present them to you in no particular order and with no context whatsoever.

  • Does your category have a King? If not, then sit on the throne. 
  • A “Brand” is the sum total of all the feelings, good and bad, that are evoked when I hear your name. 
  • Letitia “Tish” Baldrige (Lady Bird Johnson’s secretary) “You should never begin a thank you note with the words, ‘thank you.’” 
  • How do you drive traffic to a website? You create a mystery that only a visit to the website will solve. And you get the customer really engaged. 
  • In art symbolism water speaks of the unconscious mind. 
  • Don’t give away what you sell. Give away what somebody else sells.
  • Advertising makes the promises that the employees have to deliver. 
  • If your marketing plan could easily be applied or implemented by other companies in your category, then it’s a weak plan. 
  • You can write a memoir by answering three questions in this order over and over again: What happened? How did it make you feel? What did you learn?
  • When you’re writing an ad about you remembering something in the past, don’t make it about you remembering something you did. Make it about you remembering something someone else did.
  • Advertising can’t fix a broken product, service, company, or process. It’s not a magic pill.
  • When a customer is upset, ask these three questions: What happened? What should have happened? What can we do to make it right? 
  • Need to release a video a week, minimum, to build an audience on YouTube. 
  • Currently, the single biggest thing that affects the open rate of email is the “From.” 
  • It takes at least 1000 clicks to test a funnel/campaign. 
  • Real persuasion is a transfer of confidence from you to your customer. 

Thanks for making this year better than it would have been without you.

 – Zac Smith, VC