In the new age of marketing and the new world marketing atmosphere, branding has largely focused on the power of social media. Social interaction is the most powerful form of communication because it implies that both parties are sending and receiving messages. Interaction differs from the more traditional methods of marketing, such as commercial advertising, because it involves two-way communication that places consumers in charge of creating content and messaging on behalf of what they want for the company. Everyone becomes a player.

Regardless, modern marketers can still learn a great deal about how to pitch and market ideas based on the actions of past marketing masterminds. The field is not new. Since the inception of commercial trade routes, merchants have had to find clever ways to stand out from the crowd. PT Barnum is famous for having garnered attention at every turn when he built up the great Barnum and Bailey Circus Empire. Television advertisers have taught us all about the specific aspects of messaging, including where the conclusion of the advertisement should go and how best to engage the audience with such advertising. The American Gilded Age featured incredible advances in production. Modern companies now understand the concept of treating employees well to secure positive marketing internally as well as externally. Public Relations practitioners such as Edward Bernays discovered long ago that if you garner attention the right way, you don’t even have to pay for it.

Even social media tacticians have already discovered useful, valuable, seemingly universal principles for using their favorite medium. Facebook posts tend to do better during certain times of day and certain days of the week. Twitter messages are obviously better for content that can be expressed in short, bursting messages. MySpace is for music brands. FourSquare works well for retail.

As a marketer, finding new, innovative ways to get out your ideas is only a very small part of what you do. Knowing when to use strategies that already exist might be even more important. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel of marketing when half of your toolkit has already been invented.

Here are five ways to stand on the shoulders of marketing giants.

#1 READ BOOKS

I know it was annoying at the time, but your school teachers made you read because it has been and still is the easiest way for a person to learn massive amounts of information at incredible speed. Every day, marketing strategists make discoveries that progress the field and their own businesses.

#2 READ CASE STUDIES

Case studies are works designed by people who have already benefited from learning about the past. All you have to do is read their previously distilled information, available all over the internet, and you have a leg up on the competition.
In fact, you can start with the BrightBox case studies.

#3 READ NEWS

While social networks are great, we are still in the era of mass media. You have to know how news works. There is no better way to gauge the news than to actually observe it as it unfolds and interpret it. Get a fingertip feel for the way the media works. Try to predict the outcome of events and assess why your predictions hit or miss. This is a lot easier said than done, but practice helps.

#4 TALK

If you work in marketing, branding or public relations, then you already know plenty of smart, crafty, clever, intelligent people just waiting to impart their knowledge on others. All you have to do listen and take their advice. You don’t know everything, and everyone knows something. Besides, listening is a key part of pitching a product or a service. Practice and educate yourself in one swoop. Open your ears.

#5 WATCH TV

When asked at point blank range, most consumers will tell you that advertisements annoy them. Two minutes later, though, those same consumers will rant and rave about how much they love Flo from the Progressive commercials. Certain advertisements can be effective at certain times. Instead of leaping off of the couch for those three minutes to grab another soda and refill your salsa bowl, focus on the advertisements in front of you and see which ones stand out.