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Hasse Jansen, 26 Jul '17

Rich Marketer, Poor Marketer

The bestselling book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” is about personal finance, but it applies to marketing too. Here are 13 one-liners explaining what marketers should learn from the book.

Many CMOs see their marketing teams as activity-driven campaign producers. Ad hoc assignments come in, hastily produced deliverables go out. Rarely the focus lies on adding value to company strategy.

There’s a good chance you’ve heard about the book Rich dad, Poor dad, or maybe you’ve even read the whole thing. It’s a masterpiece written to help you transform your personal financial situation.

But there is one more reason why you should read this book. It can transform your marketing department as well. Most of the financial principles presented in the book apply to marketing too!

If you want to brush up your Rich Dad Poor Dad knowledge, view this 8 minute clip:

Now you got the idea, let’s see how some specific concepts in Rich Dad, Poor Dad apply to marketing. It’s time to become a Rich Marketer.

How ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ applies to marketing

We picked the most important sentences from an elaborate summary of Rich Dad, Poor Dad on, and wrote down how marketers should read them.

Poor dad was more interested in a good education than the subject of money

  • Poor marketer was more interested producing deliverables than in the subject of reaching commercial goals

Poor dad shouldn’t dwell on the fact that his wages are low, but instead ask “how can I make more money”

  • Poor marketer shouldn’t dwell on the fact that deadlines are approaching from all corners, but ask “how can I add more value?”

Poor dad’s approach to the subject of money was based on working hard to have enough money to pay the bills (in contrast to rich dad’s approach to make one’s money work for him).

  • Poor marketer’s approach was based on producing deliverables to reach deadlines (in contrast to rich marketer’s approach was to make his team (and outsourcing) work for him by setting inspiring and relevant goals).

Rich dad learned to manage risk, instead of not taking risks.

  • Rich marketer learned how to set and manage goals, rather than not setting goals.

The rich don’t work for money.

  • Rich marketers don’t work for deliverables, they work to achieve commercial goals.

The rich build up the asset column and the poor build up the liability column (expenses)

  • Rich marketers coherently build up their strategy and the poor fill up their to do list

The rich recognize opportunity instantly and turn them into gold bullions. Others do not see these opportunities because they’re too busy seeking money and security.

  • Rich marketers see opportunities and rearrange their goals. Others do not see these opportunities because they are too busy reaching deadlines for tasks to ‘not get fired’

Don’t be wise with your money once you have it, but rather be smart with your money before you have it

  • Don’t be wise with your deliverable once you’ve produced it, but rather be smart about which task to perform before you’ve put in effort

Don’t build a house without a strong foundation.

  • Don’t just cram out deliverables without knowing which commercial goal you’re trying to achieve

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It’s not how much you make, but how much you keep.

  • It’s not how many tasks you perform, but how much of your tasks turn out to be valuable in the pursuit of commercial goals

Individuals earn money, pay taxes on that money, and live with what’s left. The corporation, on the other hand, earns money, spends everything it can, and is taxed on anything that’s left.

  • Poor marketers perform many many tasks and see what comes of it. Rich marketers set a goal, figure out the bare minimum effort to reach it, and then start to perform essential tasks that are left

Most of them just sit around waiting for opportunity to happen. […] Rich people create luck; they should not wait around for it. It’s the same with money. It has to be created.

  • Most marketers sit around waiting for commercial success to appear. Rich marketers create luck: they set goals and go after it. Marketing success has to be created

Scientists are a powerhouse of knowledge, but they often fail in communications. These are the people who are “one skill away" from great wealth.

  • Marketers are a powerhouse of communications, but they often fail in strategic goal setting. These are the people that are one skill away from great wealth

Misconceptions about marketing Liabilities vs Assets

A returning topic in Rich Dad Poor Dad is being able to identify whether something is a liability or an asset. Quite often, what you think is an asset actually is a liability. You might consider your car to be an asset, but it isn’t. Your car costs money to run, and so does your cable TV. Everything that costs money is a liability, and everything that puts money in your pocket is an asset.

In marketing, the tasks you have to perform to create a deliverable are your liabilities. Employing people, buying materials and spending budget to get that pretty advertisement published all costs money.

It might make you feel pretty proud when you finally see your new advertisement soaking up the viewers’ attention. “That right there is our advertisement. Pretty cool huh?” But at this point you haven’t won anything yet. Your advertisement is still a liability.

A long-term marketing plan set in stone? Liability!

In today’s turbulent environments, static marketing plans don’t usually stay relevant for long. Knowing which task to perform one year from now may give you a sense of security, but that task is unlikely to still effectuate the desired commercial result five months from now. 

Having met all your deadlines just in time? Liability!

Sending out deliverables in the nick of time isn’t always a bad thing, but being extremely busy all the time is likely to be a sign that you haven’t prioritized goals rigorously enough. If you had a solid strategy, you probably wouldn’t have been as busy.

Having to transform your entire strategy to suit a changed market? Asset!

Change is going to happen. Changing your marketing strategy is an investment. It will cost money in the short run but you’re likely to get more out of in the end. It’s a short-term liability and a long-term asset. Working towards an out-dated overarching marketing goal will be a liability all year long.

Not knowing where you’re going, so you can do whatever you want? Liability!

The freedom to produce whatever deliverable you think ‘might be cool’ will soon start to work against you. When you don’t know what commercial goal you’re trying to achieve, it’s impossible to see progress. To keep your team motivated you have to be sure when there’s a reason to celebrate.

Having just 20 minutes for a meeting? Asset!

When you want to get things done in ‘too little time’, you’re forced to prioritize. It’s a blessing in disguise. All attendees will have to focus on the most important issues only, taking just a few minutes each to get their point across. Since meetings are very expensive, and attention levels drop as meeting duration increases, having little time can be an advantage.

Having to start an ambitious initiative small? Asset!

A lack of innovation budget helps stakeholders to think about the essence of their product before they start building. Even the big corporations that could afford big innovation teams keep their teams small, agile and entrepreneurial, simply because it’s more effective.

Ready to become a Rich Marketer yourself?

Getting your team to separate marketing assets from liabilities is easier than you think. Teams will be much more effective when they produce deliverables with the overarching commercial strategy in mind.

As the book states, Rich Dads create luck and don’t wait around. To become a Rich Marketer… try Boardview now.

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