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Aug 29, 2001
Blog Post

Making respected friends with the competition: life lessons from Aunt Audrey

SUMMARY: No summary available.
Can lessons from life carry over into marketing? I believe so. I believe that although marketing is "just a job" it gives each of us the chance to learn life lessons that affect both our businesses and our whole beings. It's not just about selling something, it's how you interact with and respect other people.

My Aunt Audrey, who was my greatest role model in life, died this week. She, an Australian WWII bride come to live in a family farmhouse in a small snowy town in New England, was a pioneer and a welcomed alien in her own community in a way that many of we Internet marketers are in our companies. She worked all kinds of crazy hours to keep a business going, especially during the busy holiday season, while juggling the demands of several children. Again, like many of us marketers today.

She was also uniquely ladylike. When people starting whining and moaning about stuff she rose above it and saw the bright side. When there were business competitors, she made respected friends with them rather than getting all nasty.

As a young marketer, I followed her example by reaching to my then-company's biggest competitors and saying, "Hey how can we be friends and help each other grow?" I made friends that have lasted to this day almost 15 years later. I also was able to work deals -- most notably mailing list swaps -- that increased both sides' profits. I learned buyers of one sort of product are more likely to buy lots of the same type of product from lots of people.... so let's all profit together rather than prospecting alone. So being friends with competitors was smart, as long as my product had a clearly differentiated USP (unique selling proposition.)

It may sound dumb, but I don't care. Great online marketing is about being nice. Is about being ladylike.
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