7 Things I Learned from the World’s Best Marketers

The Art of Marketing Conference

Today’s guest post is by author Tiana Warner (@tianawarner).

The Art of Marketing conference in Vancouver was a full day of marketing insight from Seth Godin, Nancy Duarte, Mitch Joel, John Jantsch, Brian Wong, Keith Ferrazzi, and big-name sponsors like Microsoft and CBC. Each highly qualified speaker offered a unique perspective on the current and future state of marketing.

Below are 7 essential takeaways from these world-class marketers, and my thoughts on applying them to the book industry.

1. Find a specific audience

Narrow your audience

The mass market no longer matters. The bell curve is melting, and more people fall outside of the normal range than inside. Target the ones outside of the normal range (what Seth Godin called the “weird people”).

What’s your niche? Zombie romance? Identify your exact audience. Hit up the place your ideal reader hangs out—both online and in the real world. You must go find your loyal followers.

2. Build a network

Modern marketing is not about broadcasting to anyone and everyone. It’s about building emotional connections with the right people. Create deep, loyal relationships with readers by genuinely caring about them. Be real, be vulnerable.

With those deep relationships in place, your web will start to build itself. It’s Metcalfe’s Law: readers will tell others about your book if they like it, and the value of your network will explode.

Building your network also means connecting with other authors (hi there!) and anyone who can help you market. Make a list of people you’d like to connect with. It might feel fake to approach someone and say, “Hey, I think it’s important we build our relationship.” It’s not. Being intentional about building a relationship doesn’t make it fake. So get out there and network.

3. Lead a tribe

People naturally want to be in a tribe—i.e., a group with a common purpose. What’s your tribe? Find it.

They key word here is find. Find, not create. You don’t need to invent a subculture—you just need to show up to lead it. Someone must become the leader of a tribe, and that someone can be you.

Then lead with generosity, intimacy, candor, and accountability.

4. Earn trust

Build relationships on both a professional and personal level. Earn your market’s trust, because once people trust you, they’ll listen to you.

Market to people who want to be marketed to. Don’t invade their space and privacy. It seems obvious: the most effective way to sell a book is to offer it to someone who is looking for a book to read.

John Jantsch talked about The Marketing Hourglass: Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, Refer. This is a unified process, and an order of events we all need to remember.

5. Ditch the ads

The internet wasn’t designed for ads like TV, radio, and magazines were. People pay millions of dollars a year to remove ads from their apps and web browsers.

Marketing is no longer about ads. It’s about adding value to peoples’ lives with content. (Unique content for your niche! Remember to avoid that “normal range,” or you’ll find your content competing against Charlie Bit My Finger.)

Seth Godin said one of his early books on the internet was a failure because he saw the internet and tried to make a book. Yahoo, on the other hand, saw the internet and made a search engine. We must think in terms of what works now, and not attempt to mold it into something we’re comfortable with.

6. Be generous

Every speaker talked about generosity. People don’t want to connect with a selfish person. Give away copies, offer valuable content, offer rewards to your advocates.

Would your followers miss you if you didn’t show up tomorrow? The answer should be yes. Offering valuable content is key for your website, blog, and social media platforms.

Be generous without expecting or asking for anything in return. Generosity is the foundation of a strong following.

7. Resonate through story

As mentioned above, sharing valuable content is important to building a following. Use the rules of a story when developing content in order to connect with your audience at an emotional level. Story is the best way to create meaning around a brand.

Write content using a 3-act structure. Have a beginning, middle, and end, with thresholds in between. Establish what’s “at stake” for the audience (your protagonist), and ensure they emerge transformed. You are the intervening mentor who helps the hero get unstuck when they encounter roadblocks along the way. Let your passion show, draw from a range of emotions, and use rhetoric.

People identify more with brands that offer a human connection.

Bonus notes

A few additional notes that I couldn’t bring myself to leave out:

  • My favorite thought of the day came from Seth Godin: “If failure is not an option, neither is success. The guy who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck.”
  • Fear is an indication that you’re onto something good. Use it as fuel.
  • The future is about connecting the physical world to the online world.
  • We shouldn’t try to stand out of the crowd. The crowd will make us change who we are. The way to stand out is to avoid the crowd altogether.
  • We live in a one-screen world, where the screen in front of us is the only one that matters. Develop a unified marketing strategy (not one for web, one for mobile, one for tablet.)

What else do you see as the new face of marketing? If you’ve used these principles, have they worked for you?

Posted in Guest Post, Marketing & Promotion and tagged , , , .

Tiana Warner is a YA fantasy author and technical content marketer. Her forthcoming novel, Ice Massacre, is currently in the runnings for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Tiana spent her childhood painting Disney coloring books entirely in black, which her family found quite disturbing. She would love to connect with you, so send her an email and/or follow her on Twitter.

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[…] Today’s guest post is by author Tiana Warner (@tianawarner).  […]

Daniel Decker

Love these takeaways. Thanks for sharing. The Godin quote in the bonus notes is gold.

Lexa Cain

Thanks so much for sharing the takeaways. That kind of personal contact stategy makes perfect sense, and I’m glad to hear about it. I just wish there were more hours in the day…

Chris Jones

Worth going for Godin alone. Well done and thanks for sharing.

L.A. Smith
L.A. Smith

Interesting. It all makes so much sense when you boil it down like this. Trying to implement is another story. I feel like most days I’m just floundering around and shooting arrows into the dark. Thanks for sharing what you learned, I need to have a big think about it all and try to strategize more effectively.

Anne R. Allen
Anne R. Allen

I see WordPress is no longer taking a Twitter or WordPress ID and we now have to sign up for a separate Discus ID. They do try to make commenting more and more difficult. I have the same problem on my own blog. If somebody has a Blogger blog that’s not linked to their Google Plus profile, Blogger deletes the comment. 🙁

Anyway, this is great stuff, and I will spread it around. Love Grodin’s quote about the shipwreck.

Jane Friedman

That’s strange; I wonder if Disqus isn’t loading properly for some people; for me, it still reflects sign-in options with Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus (as well as Disqus). Hmm.

Anne R. Allen
Anne R. Allen

That’s what I see, too, but when I hit Twitter, it redirected me to register with Disqus. I used to be able to sign in with WordPress, and that’s gone. I used my Google Plus/Blogger ID instead, but I’m surprised they’re pushing away the WordPress/Twitter people, since this is a WordPress blog.

Jane Friedman

Ah, I see. They changed their policy. Now I’ll have to rethink using Disqus! Frustrating.

Johnell DeWitt
Johnell DeWitt

Great advice. Thanks for this.

Dean K Miller
Dean K Miller

Wonderful ideas, takeaways and thoughts. I wonder what governments would be like if they practiced similar ideas with their constituents and other governments?

Nick LeVar
Nick LeVar

Be generous! People underestimate the power in giving away your time (or product) for free. It’s not easy, but I do book reviews and author interviews for free. #Karma


[…] catalyst for writing this post was the brilliant and spot-on article by Tiana Warner, 7 Things I Learned from the World’s Best Marketers on Jane Friedman’s blog. Take a moment to read her post. All of her points are true -but- […]

Greg Strandberg

Good list. A lot of these things seem like a no-brainer, but many people are still missing them. Couldn’t agree more on the ads, either – they’re often a complete waste. And those sites that have 2 to 3 pop-ups? I leave and never come back.


You’re absolutely right; marketing in the age of social media is all about generosity. Reach out to other writers, promote their books and their blogs, and introduce people to your contacts. The more you give, the more you will receive.


[…] “7 Things I learned from the World’s Best Marketers” – As an artist, you might think that you can leave the business stuff to the business people. Incorrect! Especially with the immediacy of social media, marketing skills are necessary to make your way in the world. Learn from Tiana Warner, as she guest blogs for Jane Friedman. […]

Katie Andraski
Katie Andraski

Thank you for this. It’s simple, clear and do-able.


[…] 7 Things I Learned from the World’s Best Marketers by @tianawarner via @JaneFriedman – Great branding and marketing tips for authors […]


[…] 7 Things I Learned from the World’s Best Marketers by Tiana Warner […]



Im from Germany.

I want to learn from the best Internet marketers of the world.

Can you tell me …who deals with the topic “Traffic”.

I hope you can unterstand me :- )

Email: info@marvinsteinberg.e


[…] my guest post at Jane Friedman’s blog for my big conference takeaways, including how to find your audience, earn trust, live […]