Suddenly Marketing

Brand Messaging | Content Strategy | Writing

The ONE marketing tool you need in 2013

Imagine it’s December 2013.

Imagine your business has just had the most amazing year. Engagement is up. Sales are up. Press coverage is up. Your customers are raving about you. Your competitors are quaking in their boots. You finally have the time and resources to start making your Big Vision a reality.

Life is good.

As you soak in the end-of-year ambiance and reflect on the year gone by, which marketing element do you think will emerge as the secret of your success?

Social media? Content marketing? Branding?

A new medium like podcasting?

A new channel like YouTube?

Your snazzy new website?


None of the above.


Though any one (or all) of those tactics may have contributed to your stellar performance, I can guarantee something else lies at the root of your achievements:



As you head into the New Year, don’t tiptoe.



It’s a busiernoisiermore crowded marketplace out there. Blogging, social, and content marketing are no longer shiny, new baubles. It’s not enough to be playing in those spaces, you have to excel in what you do there.

Mediocre won’t get you the win.

Your customers are waiting for you to deliver and delight. They want to be educated, informed, inspired, and entertained.


How are you going to do that?

Not with the same-old same-old.

Not with some vanilla execution of a tired idea.

Certainly not with bland corporate gobbledy-gook or lukewarm buzzwords.


To stand out you need to be bolder and braver.

You need to try new things and try old things in new ways. You need to put your personal stamp on everything you do, or risk fading into the woodwork. This goes for you, marketing manager at an established B2B company, as much as for my fellow sole proprietor. your playing fields might be different, but the game is essentially the same.


Four words:

  • Clarity
  • Competence
  • Confidence
  • Style

Doing your branding homework will bring you and your clients clarity about who you are, who you serve, what you do, how you do it, and why you do it.

Diligent practice of your service or refinement of your product will prove your competence and give you stories to share in your marketing.

With clarity and competence comes confidence. You know you have a right to be here. You know what you want to say and you can put yourself out there with authority.

With these three supporting elements providing a strong foundation, you have the ability to layer on style – the “something extra” that makes your marketing presentation memorable, thought provoking, and uniquely yours.


All of this adds up to one word: Courage.

When you have clarity, competence, and confidence, you have the courage to step out with your own style. You don’t feel the need to “tone it down,” put on masks, or imitate the “leaders.” You’re ready to BE a leader. Though you will still get butterflies about publishing a particular piece of content, trying a new medium, or getting behind a message that shatters the status quo, you will find the strength to put yourself out there. You will hit the “publish” button, give the speech, launch the ad, and release the ebook. You will step out of the shadows of mediocrity and into your own spotlight.

And it will serve you well.


People don’t like boring. They don’t like “the usual.”

People want excitement. They want to feel something – surprise, pride, belonging, humor.

If you can find the courage to push past your fears and deliver “brave” marketing, you will win not only the minds of your audience, but their hearts, too.


… and that will make all the difference in the world.



You might also like:

Get mad: Marketing from your dark side

Marketing Fear: It’s all been done before. Get over it.



Photo Credit: Arild Storaas (location: Thorvaldsens Museum)


Brand: What it is and the two-step process to building a great one


Branding in 2013, marketing predictions, and zombie bunnies


  1. Such a beautifully unexpected post Jamie – I love how you tie it all together, inspiring me to UP MY GAME in the big and bold department!

    • Jamie Lee

      Hi, Sabrina! :)
      Thank you.

      Inspiring you is what this is all about.

      It’s also something I’m working on myself. Must take my own advice – little by little.

      Here’s to a big & bold 2013 filled with courageous leaps and laughter.

  2. Lisa Gerber

    You just gave me a great idea. Or at least inspiration to make an idea happen. I don’t do enough to speak to the “who I serve.” And I the m you for the post.

    Doing something like narrowing your market is. Little scary. But it differentiates, and it’s that courage that gets you past mediocre. ! Yeah! :)

    • Jamie Lee

      Thanks for coming by!

      I agree – narrowing your niche IS scary, but also a proven way to build a business (and profits!). :)

      There are, however, multiple ways to “niche down:” you can niche down your audience (focusing on a certain vertical, type of business (large vs. small, for instance), or other differentiating factor (women business owners, for example)), OR you can niche down your services (instead of offering “copywriting” offer “manifesto writing,” instead of offering “digital design” offer “digital identity”).

      It can actually be a fun exercise … crafting a business that fits YOU to a “t.” :)

      Good luck!

  3. Haha! Great post! I love the four words and the courage it takes to make that happen. Great podcast with Jon Buscall too. It was great putting a voice to that face. Hmmm…’s usually the other way around (face to voice, face to name).

    Loved it. Love this.

    • Jamie Lee

      Thanks so much, Ralph. I’m so glad you like the post and the podcast. (I have to say that it was more fun to do the podcast than write the post!) 😉

  4. Yes! I think I need to read this post over and over and over again. Earlier this month, I bought a journal with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson on the cover: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” More recently a good friend gave me a journal with another simple saying: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” These two things seem to go together quite nicely — held together by one thing: courage. Thank you Jamie. This is a fabulous call to action!

    • Jamie Lee

      I think *I* need to read it over and over again! 😉

      The thing about courage is that it has to be constantly renewed. As Emerson said, “Always do what you are afraid to do.” … not “Do The Thing you are afraid to do.” Emerson knew that courage grows with the person. You conquer one fear only to find yourself facing another. There is always something else standing in your way. Always something else to challenge you. Always something else giving you the opportunity to show your courage, to grow, to learn … to become stronger.

      You, my dear, have the courage to create yourself and to recreate yourself. There are no boundaries. YOU make the rules. 2013 is going to be a fun year! :)

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