The best marketing ‘trick’? Cultural memory.

Ian Lurie

Everyone wants marketing ‘tricks’.
The best marketing trick? Write an e-book. Write a title that guarantees cool marketing tricks inside. Sell the e-book for $2000. If you sell 2 copies, you make $4000. That’s a cool trick.
OK, seriously now…
There are no marketing ‘tricks’. The best marketing, internet or otherwise, springs out of some form of cultural memory. It’s not based on a new flash of insight that comes from the blue. It comes from studying your subjects—tricky monkeys that they are—and figuring out what has always made us tick.
Look at any facet of marketing and it holds true:
In SEO, you can chase the algorithms and try to trick your way up the rankings. That works for a short time. Or, you can deliver what people and search engines want: Visibility; authority; efficiency.
In print marketing, you can put up scantily clad models to sell your toothpaste. Or, you can figure out what people really look for in a toothpaste (OK, bad example—I look for a cool label).
In all marketing, tell a story and pull your audience into it. Those that come along for the ride are great potential customers. Those that don’t shouldn’t be there anyway.
Man, I’m preachy this week. Tomorrow I’ll go for something all technical. You know – some tricks 🙂

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Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. So ture. To many people feel the art of marketing is tricking people but its really about having something useful and compelling to sell. To tell a stroy you have to first have a story, and that only comes after you put the time in first.

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