The 10 commandments of marketing

Are your marketing morals leading you astray? Get back on the straight and narrow with the 10 commandments of marketing.

Amber Raney–Kincade is a Texan tour guide in London who knows her way around the world of marketing. She’s a regular tweeter for diverse organisations, works one-to-one with entrepreneurs and businesses and holds seminars across the UK to diffuse her marketing know-how into the world of small enterprise.

When Raney-Kincade's irresistible headline ‘the 10 commandments of marketing’, popped into the Pioneers Post inbox, we decided to take a trip to Westminster Hub to hear her preach. For freelancers, start-ups and established businesses alike, here are Raney-Kincade's 10 commandments of marketing.

1. Know thyself

Understand what you do and make sure that everyone else does. “Do you know who you are and what you are about? More importantly do you explain that extremely clearly?” asked Raney-Kincade.

"You might think you do," she said, but you might also be one of the countless organisations and individuals who use too much jargon and spout mouthfuls of industry terms to market themselves.

Raney-Kincade's argument for cleaning the jargon out of your marketing is that it cuts off swathes of potential clients who are unable to understand what it is that you're offering.

Develop an elevator pitch, a short sentence or two about what you do as an organisation or individual and "test it on children and the elderly," said Raney-Kincade. "Do they get it?"

“Make sure you don't just explain what you do but what I'm going to get out of it,” she said. “Memorise it and update it frequently.”

2. Know thy audience

"You should know your audience very well," said Raney-Kincade, well enough to shape your message and marketing around what they want and believe. Daily business blogger and marketeer Seth Godin preaches along similar lines:“Give me a name. Or, if you can't give me a name, then a persona, a tribe, a spot in the hierarchy, a set of people who share particular worldviews.”

You might have multiple personas in your audience, “some will get you the biggest bang for your buck and others will be part of a wider group,” said Raney-Kincade. In defining your wider audience it helps to dip into to Seth Godin's marketing blogs. People in your audience must be people that you will be able to get on board through well-focused marketing. “People outside this group should think you're crazy, or at the very least, ignore you” said Seth Godin in a post on why you can't change everyone.

3. Thou shalt not spray and pray thy message

Whilst it’s fine to aim your marketing at a diverse audience, do not make the mistake of yelling at the masses. Raney-Kincade was firm on this point: “You can ‘t spray a message and hope it will land, it needs to target and hone in on an audience member.”

Likewise, in the aforementioned blog post, Godin warns of the temptation to talk at everyone, this only makes it more likely that no one will listen: “The marketer has no choice but to choose her audience. Perhaps not even with an ad, but with a letter, or a website or with a product that speaks for itself. And yet, our temptation is to put on a show for everyone”

4. Know thy competition

Do you know your competition? Get to know them a little better. But don’t get obsessed with them, get to know them just enough to understand how you are different.

“Understand you're unique and how you can set yourself apart,” said Raney-Kincade. “Do not be afraid of competition,” she added. You could even think about mentioning your competition in your elevator pitch. Though not in the first sentence. “Always start with what you do and what people will get from you,” she said. If you're goint to mention the competition, do it in a way that "highlights your unique selling point (USP)" she said.

In her other job, as a tour guide and promoter of Footprints of London, Raney-Kincade does exactly this. “Ever been on a London Walk?” she asked, “Footprints of London is like London Walks but we’re the Londoner’s tours, we’re not for tourists”. Hammering home her USP she said: “Our guides are knowledgeable about London and its history and help to design tours for Londoners who want to learn more about their city… London Walks use actors who read from scripts”.

But be fair to your competition, “don’t say you’re the only one who does something if you’re not,” said Raney-Kincade. Then all you’re doing is trumpeting your own lack of transparency.

“Don’t fear your competition,” said Raney-Kincade. Competitors can help you position yourself, and could offer you joint ventures and partnership opportunities. You might want to start a conversation, share resources and knowledge. One day you may even want to consider merging.

5. Think upon thy website first

Websites are key to marketing your organisation or your own freelance services. But a website is not simply a box to tick in a marketing strategy. It needs to be designed and built to serve a purpose. “All too often I hear people say we need a website in a week before they’ve even thought about what they need it to do,” said Raney-Kincade.

The process of thinking through, designing and developing a website can become a nightmare of unexpected obstacles for organisations. But it doesn’t take much to fix this.

“You’re not ready to talk to a designer or a developer until you’re clear about the functionalities you need,” siad Raney-Kincade. Don’t leave this open to interpretation, be clear, and utilise the expertise of graphic designers, user-experience (UI/UX) designers and coders.

The key message here: To get your marketing right, get your website right. Be clear what you want from your website, be clear explaining it and listen to the team that will be going off to create it.

6. Thou shalt not give in to social media peer pressure

There are hundreds of social networks out there. You can count them here. And there is no obligation to use all of them, no matter what your peers are doing.

Of course there is an argument that says the more platforms you’re on the better your SEO ranking, and the more website hits you’ll get. But if you heed the sixth commandment you won’t jump on the social media bandwagon.

“Know why you need to be on a social media platform, and understand what it will do for your business,” said Raney-Kincade.

If SEO is your strategy, fine, but "it’s advisable to spend your time on the platforms most likely to reach and engage your audience," she said.

“People don't look for marketing consultants on Facebook, but Facebook is a no brainer for tour guide. Everyone needs to be on LinkedIn,” said Raney-Kincade.

“Twitter is great for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer communications. Do you need to dabble in Pinterest - do you really need to?”

“Can you do everything you need to do on Facebook? Do you really need Instagram…?” she asked. Less is more. Don’t overdo it and you’ll have more control and more time to put into your social media activity.

Less is more. Don’t overdo it and you’ll have more control and more time to put into your social media activity. 

7. Thou shalt not post social media without a strategy

Now you know which platforms you want to use, make sure you don’t start tweeting without a strategy.

“That means figuring out the tone of voice you'll be using across media, and your frequency, how you’re going to build your following and engage your audience” said Raney-Kincade.

8. Do not be tempted by false prophets


There are people out there who claim they can get you followers and likes, “ignore them,” said Raney-Kincade. Ultimately all you gain from this is a group of people who have no interest in what you are doing.

“It is better to have 10 Facebook followers who are engaged than 800 that don't want to listen,” argued Raney-Kincade. “Save your money – it would be better spent on a coffee and a conversation with someone about the work you’re doing.”

9. Know thy worth and measure it

Get into metrics, they’ll help you track how many people you’re reaching and how engaged they are.

Raney-Kincade’s advice:

“Use the free stuff… Hook your website up to Google analytics, look into Twittercounter to find out where your tweets are going. Use Facebook Insights. Try Feedback roulette. And it’s always good to do market research… take a look at SurveyMonkey.”

Of course, getting the metrics is one thing and analysing them is another skill entirely…

10. Seek assistance when hope is lost

There’s a lot you can self-teach. But there is also a community of people out there willing to help. “Don't jump into something if you really don't know what you're doing,” said Raney-Kincade.

If you don't know how to do something ask, take a class, Google it, get some professional guidance, or hire someone to do it.

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