Moms, Marketing and Mother’s Day

It’s amazing what one thinks about on a long drive. Yesterday, I drove through the meandering mountains from Pennsylvania to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, and I thought of all the mom’s out there and how they will be celebrated today on Mother’s Day. Mothers teach a number of life lessons throughout our lives and those we consider to be our moms can be related or adopted into our lives. They often are the first ones we turn to share good or bad news and look to for advice and unconditional love.

But let me interject a side note. My friend Toni called me yesterday. She’s got some great kids and has made it abundantly clear to each one of them, “Don’t just make me feel special one day a year. If you can’t do it all year long, skip it.” And by special all she means is communicate with her regularly and show her some love. I like that. But I also think it’s pretty cool to spoil the heck out of mom on Mother’s Day too.

So back to the drive. One of the many things I thought about yesterday was how much I learned from my mother that I, as well as many of us in this industry, use in marketing. Long before it was fashionable for people to use the terms “branding” or “customer relationship management” or “knowledge bank”, mom was teaching me valuable life lessons that were marketing lessons camouflaged. 

I would bet I’m not alone in feeling this way. There are definite characteristics of marketing and when I wrote down a few it was so evident that my marketing education began with my mom. So today, to pay homage to mom’s everywhere, here are just a few of the lessons my mom taught me that relate directly to what I do every day to engage audience(s) for Poretta & Orr.

Strong Business Acumen. 
This is a no brainer. Moms across the globe know how to stretch a dollar, start successful businesses, and manage all the moving parts effectively, as well as take risks. I remember my mom as someone that wasn’t afraid to step out of her comfort zone. Well, maybe she was afraid, but she did it regardless. She was successful in sales in a role that was dominated by men at the time. And at a time when women that wanted to step outside of the traditional role of stay at home wife and mother, they also had to keep the household running smoothly. So yeah, my mom, like many of her generation, knew how to kick ass. 

Great Storyteller. 
Growing up I was fascinated by the stories my mom shared. All of which were either funny or taught a lesson. Whether she was providing comfort, giving advice, or gearing up for one of her marathon lectures, she always managed to weave a story into the mix. And just like great marketing, she shared the stories that mattered to me and that would leave a lasting impression in that moment. Relevant content. I think the most relevant and powerful story my mom shared, is you don’t take no for an answer if it’s not the answer you want. You persevere. She had many examples and her story about getting her first account with Volkswagen during a time the Love Bug was popular, sticks with me. It took months of her calling and stopping by to say hello before she actually spoke with someone at Volkswagen. But she got the account. Turns out she left a creative packet of information and she incorporated a Match Box car with … yep, a Love Bug. 

Great Empathy. 
Really good marketers get into the minds and try to imagine they are one of their target audience. If you have the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another person, you have the ability to understand what they need, how they think, what they want and how they feel. My mom always showed compassion and empathy. Often times, recounting my day at school I would hear, “How would you feel if that was done to you?” It gets you thinking about others. And that is the foundation of what a great marketer must do. 

Brilliant Communicator. 
My mom communicated very well. And often. Boy that lady could talk. Remember those famous lectures referenced earlier? She could articulate the issue and then pontificate for quite a while. And regularly. My siblings and I, we still laugh about this. But, I did learn to some valuable lessons about communicating as a result. Know your subject, have a strategy and include some action steps to make it happen. In my case that often times meant I was grounded or a privilege was taken away, but hey, another lesson from mom … actions have consequences. My mom knew how to move people through communication to a given goal, pretty much marketing personified. 

While many of us have learned so many important lessons from our moms, they really only matter if you implement them. The lessons my mom shared and bestowed upon me have made me better at what I do and helped shape the person I have become. I think many of you will feel the same about your mothers. So today, if it’s possible, be sure to say thank you and tell your mom how much she means to you. 

But to revisit my side note earlier, just like Toni’s kids, don’t just tell your mom how much she means to you only on Mother’s Day, do it regularly and use words that will resonate with her. And that folks, is great marketing …  

Happy Mother’s Day!

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