I just love quotations. They’re thought provoking and even poignant. And yet, in the world of marketing, some are simply wrong. In the interest of correcting historic mistakes, I offer the following quotation corrections.

In 1602, Francis Davidson was wrong when he said, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. In business, absence does not make the heart grow fonder…absence makes the heart go wander! Stop staying in touch with your customers and they’ll wander to your competitors. People remember people who remember them.

Around 600 BC, Aesop stated, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” He was not only wrong, but until now, no one took the time to correct him and set the record straight. In business, familiarity does not breed contempt, it breeds trusting relationships. Simply stated, people like to do business with people they know and like. The best thing you can do in business is to get to know and understand your customers; and then, increase your likeability factor and serve them well.

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.” This phrase can be traced back to June of 1867, when seen in the newspaper Piqua Democrat. But it is misleading. In truth, we always judge “books” by their covers. For example, if you did not find the subject line of this blog interesting, you would not have started reading the blog content. Yes, content is important, but without a great “cover” or “title” we will never get people to read our content, attend our seminars, or purchase our products or services. In advertising, a good headline contributes to 85% of the ad’s success.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
This popular faux-Chinese proverb is not only misleading, but harmful when you’re competing in business. To be successful in today’s cluttered marketplace, you need to tell a story that is so interesting and compelling that it is repeated over and over by your customers. A good story turns your customers into a sales force. Word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective and affordable way to market your products and services. When you consider that mobile devices are all word-of-mouth machines, you quickly realize that without a “story” you are doomed. It’s not a picture that spreads like an idea virus (to use Seth Godin’s expression), it’s a story!

In a future blog posting, I’ll provide you with some simple quotes that are not only accurate, but will greatly help guide your business to further success.