Marketing and Grilling Have More in Common Than You Think1

The same is true for your website, emails, content, and other marketing assets. CMO tip: Do the “relevance check” when producing customer-facing material: Will my audience care? They’re taking risks by adding some creative edge to engage the reader, bringing “flavor” to their brand and overall marketing strategy. At the same time, it’s important to remember that too much seasoning is just as detrimental as too little. The brand experience is just as important as the product, and that experience is made in the little things1—the stories you tell, your attention to detail, and the true value/helpfulness you bring to the customer instead of your desire to sell. They want to be informed, educated, and inspired.1 As one of my favorite sayings goes, “Start with the end in mind, and work backwards.” The next time you want to create a compelling experience for your audience, consider: What is the one thing you want your customer to truly remember from this campaign/content? How can I create a truly memorable experience by best using all the senses? Grillmaster tip: The best dining experiences occur when in the presence of great people. In marketing, it’s in things like choosing visuals that are original instead of cutting and pasting from clip art. For me, the world’s top brands like Apple, Nike, or Coca-Cola come to mind for their obsessive attention to detail in consistently creating memorable experiences for their customers.

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Marketing and Grilling Have More In Common Than You Think

May is my favorite time of year. In Indianapolis, it means
everything is in bloom, Memorial Day is around the corner, and you
can literally smell the burning rubber from the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway! In my house, it also means it’s time to fire up the

I must have had marketing on the brain during my last cookout
because the gears started to turn on why I love them both. Then it
occurred to me—they’re actually more similar than you might
initially think. Here’s why.

1. Both Require the Best Ingredients

“Good” truly is the enemy of “great.” It’s the reason the steak
at the gourmet restaurant tastes so delicious—the high quality and
the experience. By not bringing the best “ingredients” to
the table in your marketing, the experience can end up being

In my days as CMO at ExactTarget (now Salesforce Marketing
Cloud), we were famous for having t-shirts made for almost every
product launch or big event. One of the reasons everyone loved them
is because we picked the most comfortable t-shirts you could buy.
On the surface, you might choose a $4 shirt, so you can buy a
higher quantity and give out as many as possible. But a cheaper
shirt means cheaper materials and something uncomfortable that will
never get worn. However, investing in a $10 shirt meant seeing them
worn constantly, resulting in maximum impact and brand

The same is true for your website, emails, content, and other
marketing assets. Go the extra mile to choose something that will
produce the best long-term results. Quality trumps quantity.

CMO tip: Opt for marketing programs and assets
that will give you the highest ROI—not the ones that have the
cheapest up-front cost.

Grillmaster tip: Only 4% of steaks are graded
prime. It only costs a few dollars more, but most people grab
what’s easiest. Just remember: What is easiest is not always

2. A Perfect Blend of Art and Science

Blending art and science is truly the essence of marketing. Some
marketers focus on the right-brained activities (branding and
creative assets), while others focus on the left side of the brain
(data and optimization). The best marketers, however, are
skilled at both.

Consider an outbound campaign that your marketing department
might send to top customers. Without incredibly well-designed
packaging that stands out from the crowd, the potential buyer won’t
even bother opening your package or email. At the same time,
failing to properly analyze your customers ahead of time might
result in the campaign being sent at the wrong time in the buying

CMO tip: Do the “relevance check” when
producing customer-facing material: Will my audience care? Is the
content compelling enough? Am I reaching them at the right

Grillmaster tip: Study “what works” in
grilling—temperature, time on grill, etc.—but don’t be afraid to
exercise your personal style to create true artfulness.

3. Don’t Forget the Seasoning!

It’s shocking to me how many people can forget the most basic
thing in cooking: flavor. Unfortunately, marketing is almost as
under-seasoned as food in many cases. Over the past few years,
marketing has all…