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15 Tips Marketers Can Learn From Oprah - Part 1

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What We Can Learn from the Queen of All Media about Marketing

Regardless of what you're personal feelings and persuasions are about Oprah Winfrey, everyone, especially marketers, can learn from the way she created one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Oprah, for everything, is a rule-breaker, and a successful one, at that. Some of these tips aren't for the faint of heart, nor will they work for everyone. Here are 15 Oprah-sized tips that marketers can use to develop and cultivate their brand.

1. Tell a Story

Or, start a conversation. Talk to your customers, clients and associates as if you're having a one-on-one casual conversation over a cup of coffee. Whatever story you're telling about your products or services needs to be real. Cut the crap and engage!

2. Listen

One of the most recognizable traits about Oprah is her incredible ability to listen to everyone who crosses her path. By listening, you learn. From learning, you adapt and grow. Listen to what your customers are saying (or not saying to you). Read between the lines and ask yourself those hard questions.

3. Engage With a Diverse Audience

Don't limit yourself to whom you think or perceive as your target market. By pigeonholing yourself into a certain demographic it stops any growth and prevents your brand to reach new customers, even those you may not have ever thought would be interested in you and what you're selling. Oprah has mass appeal, cutting through socio-economic, ethnic and even religious boundaries because she never assumed that she knew who her audience was.

4. Be Honest

Don't hide behind gimmicks, jargon or well-spun language. Speak your company's truth at all times. Essentially, "This is what we do, and this is why we do it." Honesty, though terrifying in any business situation, is what separates good companies from great ones.

5. Give Back

Oprah is famous for donating time, money and goods to causes that mean something to her, her staff and her audience. Further, the companies that her brand associated with are all internationally recognized as philanthropists. What does this mean for you? Give back. That's it. The rewards of doing so are better than any paid advertisement or return customer. Invest in your community or even listen to your customers. What do they believe in? What do they think your company should support?

6. Become a Face

Is there someone, say a President, CEO or Board Chair, that is synonymous with your company? Without a face, then to your customers, your company is just a company, and isn't a living, breathing entity. Having someone identifiable to your company not only builds trust but relatable.

For Part 2 of this series of tips, please read 15 Tips Marketers Can Learn From Oprah - Part 2.

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