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Marketing Isn’t What Makes Great Marketing

Wait, what?

Aren’t you a marketer?

You bet. And I have a distinctly unpopular opinion: that marketing isn’t what makes great marketing.

What makes truly great marketing is passion. Hear me out. I promise it will all make sense in a minute.

An Example

Take our marketing for example. We’ve had plenty of people ask (or wonder aloud in our general vicinity) what our “strategy” is. They’ve asked us questions, watched what we’ve been doing, or have read through our content and tried to work backwards to understand what our strategy is.

They want to know what collection of tactics we are employing to get results. A fair question. But, a pointless one.

Let’s go through some of the things we’ve done, shall we?

The Iron Sharpens Iron Series 

When reviewing this series from a “tactical” standpoint, this series shows the depth of our relationships with clients (when they are about our clients), and gives an idea of the type of people we tend to do business with.

But why did we actually do it in the first place? What was the reason for employing the “tactic”? Well, it wasn’t a tactic at all. The first article in the series actually explicitly states why we started it: “My goal this year, and forever, is to do a better job of cataloging and remembering these moments [with inspiring people]. To hold on more tightly, and ingrain more deeply, the lessons I gain from them.” 

It was just because we were so darn inspired by people in our life and simply had to write about it. 

Our Promises Blog

This article has been one of the best ways we’ve connected with potential team members and clients since it was published. 

Again, reviewing this from a “tactical” standpoint, you’d point out how it helps team members and clients to feel important and valued.

And yet again, you’d be surprised to find that there was not a “tactical” reason why this blog was published. Much like the last example, this article states in plain terms why we decided to create it: “The reason this post is being written is quite simply because of our team… As they have worked with us, my heart has been warmed by the wonderful things they say about how happy they are to be here, and how much they enjoy the environment. But even more so than the joy for how they feel now, I have outright anger when I hear how they felt before.”

It was written because we were so darn frustrated with the way humans have been treated in our industry and simply had to write about it. 

AJ’s “Why I Left Corporate” Blog

This article is far and away the highest viewed piece of content on our website.

From a “tactical” standpoint, this article can be interpreted as an employee proving our promises, and as a great method for recruiting new team members.

Well, if we aren’t sounding like a broken record just yet, there was not a “tactical” reason why this blog was published. AJ, the only member of our team without a marketing background, came to us with something he was passionate about, and asked us to share it.

It was posted because we were so darn inspired by AJ’s passion there was no question about if we should share it.

Tactics are Great, But They Aren’t a Starting Point

As a marketer, I don’t discount the importance of understanding and knowing about the tactics that work. Hell, I’m about the nerdiest person in the world if you get me talking about keyword strategies. I love it, and I can dive deep into the tactical for hours.


Incredible marketing is derived from deep, raw, unbridled passion. Not from a list of tactics.

Tactics are just something you layer on top of that passion. Take client work for example. I can do good marketing for business leaders that are smart. But I can do out-of-this-world-incredible marketing for business leaders that are deeply passionate.

No marketing strategy built on tactics will ever be “revolutionary.” No marketing strategy built on tactics will cause people to have a visceral reaction to your business.

Marketing strategies built on the most passionate of platforms can change the world.

So this begs the question: is your marketing strategy built on tactics, or passion?