All I really need to know about marketing I learned from my mom

My mom always told me (and still does!) to follow my dreams. That’s not just some pretty plaque I hang on my wall; I take that to heart. I take a lot of her other advice really seriously too. From chewing my food with my mouth closed to being a loyal friend to ironing my wrinkled shirt; I hear my mom’s voice in my head often.

As a sort of Mother’s Day tribute to my mom, I compiled a short list of some of the accidental marketing tips my mom has bestowed upon me along the way.

Set goals

As the tallest girl on the basketball court, I was, in a word, awkward. I was scared of the ball, not aggressive like my teammates and I hated running. Why I ever signed up for the sport is still a mystery to me. But, my mom was my number one cheerleader at every game. To encourage me to become more assertive as a basketball player and person, my mom brought a piece of paper to every game and tallied the amount of times I touched the basketball. The more tallies I got, the bigger blizzard at Dairy Queen was mine to claim.

Whether it’s monetary-based or customer-oriented, goals in the marketing realm are essential. Setting achievable, yet challenging (and measurable) standards for ourselves catapults us into our future dreams and endeavors. Write down your goals, carry them in your purse, write them on your bathroom mirror. Surround yourself with what you hope to achieve.

Be an expert

I remember doing a “state project” in fifth grade; my state was New Mexico. (Since then, I’ve always been enthralled with Santa Fe). We had to present all the information a tourist would want to know about our particular state to our class in a three-minute presentation. I remember my mom telling me that it was my job to be the New Mexico expert. She didn’t say the 50-state-expert…just one state. That goes for us in marketing, too. We can’t be an expert at everything, but we can know a lot about a few things. Whether it’s social media, content marketing or blogging, know your stuff and know it well. Then, share your information with others.

Be nice and make friends

Remember when your mom would send you off to the bus with your lunch box in hand and backpack around your shoulders, and as she’s waving to you with curlers in her hair, she’d yell something like, “Make friends today!” or “Share your toys with the other kids!” (Okay, maybe that scenario is a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea). Well, handing out your business card runs along those same lines. Be bold. Strike up a conversation at Caribou. Flaunt your skills. Make friends – and share your toys, er, um, business cards.

Put your best foot forward (or, create a well-designed, functional website)

My mom never told me to create a well-designed, functional website. But, she did tell me to always put my best foot forward. And that’s the job of a website. Often times, a customer’s or client’s first impression lies in their view of a company’s online identity. Is the site easy to navigate? Clear to understand? Just like me, taking the time to iron my shirt or put on makeup, a great website can have a lasting effect on those who view it.

Do the right thing

I remember in middle school there was a girl in my class who was constantly picked on. Worried about tainting my own reputation by being seen with this girl, I asked my mom for advice. What she told me still sticks me. “What is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular.” In business, motherhood or relationships, I keep this little nugget of advice close to my heart. Doing the right thing isn’t always my first choice, but in the end it’s the one I can live with.

Thanks, mom. Your advice about simple things I dealt with in middle school is now helping me figure out larger problems while I’m out in this big, scary world. I still hear your voice in my head…and trust me, that’s a good thing.

Maggie Sonnek About Maggie Sonnek

Maggie Sonnek is part of the marketing team at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and a former Allée marketing assistant. She has a passion for writing, social media and graphic design with experience that includes team leadership, television news production and communication management.

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