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Thursday, 19 November 2015 11:08

What the Gettysburg Address Teaches Us About Marketing

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What the Gettysburg Address teaches us about marketingAbe Lincoln: Marketer?

Maybe not in the way we think of marketers these days, but the 16th president sure knew how to get an important idea across to his audience.

Today - November 19, 2015 - marks the 152nd anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and it occurred to me that there might be a few valuable lessons about crafting marketing messages that we can take away from it.

Be brief. The address was only 271 words long. President Lincoln took less than three minutes to deliver a speech that, arguably, has resonated more than any other throughout American history. And that was during an era of long-winded orators. (The speech before Lincoln's lasted two hours!)

Be humble. There was no hyperbole in his address. In fact, Lincoln told the attendees that "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here." Okay, so he was wrong on that account, but the point is he wasn't tooting his own horn or overstating his case. Resist any urge to exaggerate your product's benefits or only talk about your company. Instead, speak authentically about how you can solve your audience's specific problems or make their lives easier.

Be inspirational. "It is for us the living," Lincoln said, to make sure that "these dead shall not have died in vain" and that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Now THAT'S a call to action! What are your messages inspiring your audience to do? Whether it's visiting your website or changing their corner of the world, make sure your words provide the proper motivation.

(NOTE: The blog post above is 271 words long - the exact same length as The Gettysburg Address. I did that purposely so you can see at a glance just how quickly Lincoln made his points, while delivering a message that moved - and still moves - our nation.) 

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