The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Marketers

Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits is renowned by strategic management educators and advisors as the bible for success- in business, relationships and life in general. If you’ve ever attended business school you’re likely to have studied the book at great length.

I recently stumbled across some of my old MBA coursework and was interested to find a nice summary of Covey’s habits I’d written for a Changing Environments of Business project. Reading through each habit, it struck me how applicable they are to my career in the field of marketing, so much so that I decided to put together a list of Covey’s seven habits with my interpretation of each.

So without avail, here is my interpretation of Covey’s habits, which I’ve dubbed “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Marketers:”


#1 – Be proactive

Covey’s Explanation: We are responsible for our own lives and decisions. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.

The Marketing Explanation: Working in the field of marketing requires you to be flexible and adaptive to constant change. As I’ve blogged before, we as marketers need to proactively keep pace with new tools and features to help automate our processes.


#2 – Begin with the end in mind

Covey’s Explanation:

All things are created twice: first in our minds, then brought into physical existence. The purpose behind beginning with the end in mind is to develop a mission, which will help one focus on what they want to be and do.

The Marketing Explanation: Before we begin new projects, we need to ask ourselves “what is the goal?” So many times I’ve seen people get caught up on new tools, media and channels and forget to ask themselves why they need them in the first place. Are you trying to achieve more leads? Increased brand awareness? Understanding the goal will help you determine your strategy, the course of action and what your next steps are.


#3 – Put things first

Covey’s Explanation: Personal management honors integrity and our ability to make and keep commitments to ourselves.  In order for us to control our impulses and moods with respect to our values, we must be able to say “yes” to some things, and “no” to others.

The Marketing Explanation: Analytics… you can get caught up in them for days. Learning how to interpret the data you’re collecting is paramount to determining where your priorities are as a marketer. Where’s your highest ROI? PPC? Email? Covey’s #3 habit of personal management allows us to practice identifying our activities with the highest return and take the needed steps to prioritize around them.


#4 – Think win-win

Covey’s Explanation:  Seek a mutual benefit in social interactions. Character is the foundation, relationships are the focus.

The Marketing Explanation: Life is all about partnerships. What’s in it for me? What’s in it for you? How can we both use our strengths to accomplish our goals? Covey’s #4 habit reminds us of the importance of authenticity in our social relationships and how to build equity within them, so that when we need a favor in return, it is given without question. In short, be real about it. It is an etiquette we need to abide by which is especially true for Twitter and other networks largely used for influencer marketing.


#5 – Seek to understand to be understood

Covey’s Explanation: We should first take the time to deeply understand the problems presented to us. When we understand each other, our differences are no longer roadblocks to communication and progress. We open the door to creative solutions and alternatives.

The Marketing Explanation: Great marketing is all about great listening. We listen first, talk later. Having a deep understanding of our customer and clients can help us to better frame our solutions around their goals and create products that better meet the needs of the end user.


#6 – The importance of creative cooperation

Covey’s Explanation: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The Marketing Explanation: I think this one goes without saying: collective knowledge reigns supreme in the world of marketing. With all the constant changes in technology, we need to rely on our groups, forums, communities for advice and support. My organization recently held a Sales Kickoff and gathered 50+ of the best marketing genius in the tech world and I was grateful to have the opportunity to learn from each one of them. Having recently come from a “mom and pop” shop, it was great to have the right people to bounce ideas back and forth with and engage in friendly dialogue while brainstorming new marketing strategies.


#7 – Take a proactive approach to self-renewal

Covey’s Explanation: Take time to proactively renew the four dimensions of your nature – physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional so that you can work more quickly and effortlessly.

The Marketing Explanation: This habit may have come last for Covey, but always comes first in my daily regime. It’s important to not get burnt out on your work. Whether it is through pamper or play, we need to allow ourselves the time to detox, pause and reflect on where our days have taken us, and always remember the larger picture in meeting our goals as marketers, spouses, parents and people we’ve become.


The world isn’t perfect and people are certainly not either, but in my experience, keeping these habits in mind (whether I knew it at the time or not) has helped me to become the person and professional I am today. And while I still have a lot of work to get where I want to be, I truly believe this is a great blueprint to lead me there.


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