Here are 14 lessons that noted motivational speaker Tom Feltenstein often shares with audiences around the world.
1. The best decisions you can make combine your head with your heart. In fact, most of life’s choices should combine intellect and emotion. Except love. And music. And sex. And picking stocks.
2. In advertising, what you say is more important that how you say it. A good execution can camouflage a bad idea for a while, but in the end, it will still fail if the idea’s lousy. Except for the earlier iPod and Target stuff; their advertising is pure feel-good eye candy, strategically smart, executionally driven. And they’re fabulous. So is MasterCard – it’s got both. So does the new American Express campaign.
3. Democracy is for governments; consensus-building is for peace treaties and high school reunions.
4. All children are wonderful, including your own. And grandchildren are miracles. Children come with parental responsibilities, obligations, concerns, ambitions, hopes and fears. Grandchildren come with pure joy and are meant to be spoiled. And then sent home.
5. Most good blues songs start with “I woke up this mawnin’…” and usually include “My baby left me…” by the second verse.
6. Black is beautiful. But it’s not the only damn color to wear to meetings. I mean, give me a break. We’re supposed to have imaginations. About life. About solutions. Are we diverse people? Or are we cut from the same cloth? If we’re not supposed to think like this, why do we dress like this? We’re not. That’s something else I learned.
7. If the idea doesn’t scare you even a little bit, it may not be good enough. And if the ads please absolutely, they may not have gone far enough. This is true more often than not.
8. If you see me with one of those hands-free Bluetooth cell phone headsets stuck on my ear, ever, you have permission to shoot me. Same with a blackberry. I absolutely do not want to be that connected, that hip, that tethered to the rest of the world, or my office. I’d rather keep my head free for some thinking once in a while, and my ears clear for an iPod to goose it along on occasion.
9. The most offensive quality of all is hypocrisy. In people. In ideas. In religion. In government.
10. Good advertising cannot overcome a lousy product, or a product without reason for being. In fact, good advertising will insure a bad product’s failure. Quicker.
11. Here’s the biggest lie in advertising: You can sell somebody something they don’t want. Impossible. What is possible is to get somebody to want something they don’t need. But if they don’t want it, they ain’t buying it. And besides, how else should it be? Get a grip. Plus, the word “sex” has never been secretly imbedded in ice cubes in liquor ads.
12. My hero? Mrs. Crawford, principal at Noyes School, St, Joseph, Missouri. Mrs. Crawford taught me what’s genuinely heroic: a commitment to the greater good, personal sacrifice for others, dedication, integrity, great humor, balance, a genuine love for children and the child in all of us, a sense of self. And being a good enough salesman to convince some 900 underprivileged young students to show up at school every day willing to learn something.
13. A .330 batting average will get you in the Hall of Fame. It’s pretty damned good in new business too. Pick your shots. Pitch when you have to. All the other times, go in the back door. You’ll get assignments, you’ll raise your average. You might even get in the Hall of Fame.
14. Diversify. Not just your portfolio. Your life. Get interested in something beyond your job. Something you love. Something you cannot live without. No, not that. Something cultural, intellectual, emotional, artistic. An “outside interest.” A “hobby.” A source of passion. Opera. Cooking. The Blues.
Some great marketing tips on my blog! http://www.tomfeltenstein.com/marketing-blog/
Tom Feltenstein is the founder of The Neighborhood Marketing Institute and CEO of Tom Feltenstein’s Power Marketing Academy. He is recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on strategic and neighborhood marketing. Tom is fun, bold, and passionately bent on infusing our hurried culture with Uncommon Wisdom. A much sought-after educator, speaker and commentator, his words and presence have touched hundreds of thousands of people.