The Most Important Thing About Marketing Is…

Don Draper
Aug 28th, 2013

By Paul Cowley, Founder, CEO, & Creative Director

Topic(s) Covered: Paul's Notes, Advertising

I’ve been in this business for a very long time (well, since the original Mad Men) and I want to share with you the “big secret” about marketing.  The #1 most important thing about marketing is…

[Pause for effect.]

Activity!  And the frequency of that activity.  Let me tell you a little bit about it.

Brand New Shoes

It goes without saying the first thing you need is a product or service that there’s actually a market for.  You need people out there who need what you are marketing. Without that, you are dead in the water.

ShoesSo let’s assume you have the greatest offering in the world, like shoes. Other than at the beach, when was the last time you saw a person without shoes?  (And even then, you can sell them sandals or water shoes.)  Right, everyone needs shoes.

Now of course, because there is such a healthy market for shoes, there are a lot of companies competing for their fair share.

Let’s assume your shoes are “very in,” made to last, and are priced fairly – a hard to beat combination: you “got it all going on.”  “Build it and they will come,” right?  WRONG!

Here’s the part where most go wrong: inviting people to the party!  They never seem to factor in the cost of Who-What-Where-When. If customer don’t know “Who” the shoemaker is, “What” the shoes look like, and “How Much” it costs, “Where” they can buy it, and “When” it will be available for sale; they simply won’t come and you will not sell your shoes.

In short: the most important thing about marketing is activity: telling the buyer in any and every way Who-What-Where- and When.  And with frequency: as often as possible.  You really can never tell them too many times.


We in Syracuse know when you say “Huge,” you think “Billy Fuccillo” (a successful local car dealer, for the out-of-towners).  And when you think “Billy,” you think “HUGE deal on a car and HUGE inventory.”  And the opposite is true.  If I need a car, you can bet he’s one of the first that comes to mind, whether I buy from him or not.

Why is this?  Well, around here, any given person has heard him on the radio, watched him on TV, or saw his billboards thousands of times!  And incessantly.  That’s enough to drive the point home and make a permanent memory.

Air JordanJust Do It!

Activity: telling the consumer often Who-What-Where-When.  The competitor that does this best wins.

Going back to the shoe company example, my last heading underlines Nike, the shoe giant.  Through generations of successful advertising, everyone recognizes the brand, knows the tagline, and esteems them as “the best.”  I mean, they make Jordans.  What better brand to have in their line of work?

The point is, you’ve gotta go out there and do it: full court press on all fronts.  The inactive marketer or business is as good as dead.  It’s about creating a buzz that informs and empowers your customers; and there’s plenty of competition out there to make this urgent.

So “Just Do It!”

About The Author

Paul's genius is to see the connections, relationships and meanings that others miss, and then weave them into breathtaking creative strategies and graphic design concepts. Nothing short of an alchemist, Paul routinely blows us away. As a pioneer of forward thinking at the agency, he routinely challenges us to think of fresh, contemporary ways to position our client's messages to reach their intended audiences. Paul's work has garnered myriad awards during his 35+ years in advertising and he is committed to bringing that level of quality to each client's vision.

Paul Cowley - Founder, President, & Creative Director

Paul Cowley

Founder, President, & Creative Director

315-475-8453 x226

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