Spotting the differences between good and bad marketers is easy. But what sets the great marketers apart from those that are merely good? Let’s explore five dynamic principles with examples who modeled taking the trait from good to great.

1. Make the Decision to Get Better EveryDay

In his insightful book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins says, “Greatness isnot a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” Will you become a great marketer? A conscious choice and the will to develop the right traits will prove to be the difference maker.

Frank Bettger: The top insurance salesman of his day explains his journey and shares fantastic tips in his book, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling.” He studied the 13 principles of virtue and success developed by Ben Franklin, perhaps America’s first marketing superstar. He focused on six of them and added seven he felt would serve him well in sales. Bettger (pronounced “Betcher”) tackled one of the 13 traits every week with dogged determinism, and then repeated the cycle every quarter. After the first cycle, Bettger said, “I knew I was getting a better hold on myself. I began to feel an inward power that I had never known before.” He was on his way because he determined to get better where it mattered.

2. Be Enthusiastic

This was the first principle Bettger worked on, and he proved that it is a decision, not a natural characteristic. Without enthusiasm, most won’t make the effort to work daily on the journey from good to great.

Jim Harbaugh: The University of Michigan head football coach might be the best recruiter of talent in the country, persuading top players to suit up for the Maize and Blue. He strives to implement the encouragement his father gave him one morning when he wasn’t excited about going to school. “Attack this day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!” his father bellowed when Jim and his brother left for school. Here’s a video of Jim and his dad, Jack Harbaugh, describing the scene. You might like this one too.

3. Adopt and Master Trends

Mark Cuban became a billionaire selling computers online because he was one of the first to do it and he mastered it. Casey Niestat and other early YouTube vloggers have done well. Early adopters of trends who then master those trends often succeed wildly. At minimum, you must stay up with trends such as being on every social media platform and knowing the unique marketing approach best used on each.

Gary Vaynerchuck: A brilliant marketer, Gary was an early adopter and investor in Twitter, SnapChat and Uber. He studies trends and teaches about them in his daily YouTube “DailyVee” vlog. A recent vlog is entitled, “Where to Start,” and, well, that would be a good place for any marketer.

4. Know your Audience

The oldest marketing principle in the book is to know what your audience and what it wants, and then give it to them in the most appealing way possible. PT Barnum knew that his audience craved diversion from their hard-work lives, and he steeped it in the incredible. He found a niche (suckers born every minute who were very willing to be taken in) and he filled it.

Mary Kay Ash: Ash’s audience wasn’t primarily the women buying cosmetics, but rather women tired of boring jobs or of staying home who were looking for an exciting opportunity. It was those women Mary Kay attracted as associates and awarded with pink Cadillacs when they succeeded. She gave them great products, tools and techniques, and as they made money, she grew wealthy.  Ash made direct marketing cool by turning an enthusiastic audience into an army of sales agents.

5. Keep Learning from Successful People

Know-it-alls don’t succeed, at least not to their full potential. Keep learning from those who made indelible marks in the past, people like Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Dale Carnegie and Mary Kay Ash, and from those who are making waves today such as Seth Godin, Jamie Turner, Neil Patel and Melissa Mackey. Learn from books, blogs and vlogs, going to seminars and taking notes you commit to reviewing and associating with successful marketers. As to the last point, marketing star Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Associate with successes.

Henry Ford: One of the world’s great innovators was a lifelong learner, saying, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

Master the Basics

These traits form a foundation that will serve you well in all of life, not just marketing. But you must master them and apply them with determination. Frank Bettger loved a poem by Herbert Kaufmann named, “Victory.” It’s not a poetic gem, for sure, but its message is worth embracing – Victory comes only by putting energetic action toward your goals, and if you don’t, you will fail. Remember Jim Collins’ words, “Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” Go be great!

About the Author: Philip Piletic’s primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business and marketing. He’s a freelancer, a writer and a traveler who loves to share his experience with others by contributing to online communities and helping others achieve success. He would like to thank Promo Gallery for their help with this article.