Poetry might not be the first thing that pops to mind when you think about marketing. Yet, there has to be a reason why so many poets end up in the world of marketing: writing skills of course, an ability to approach a concept laterally, a flair for the dramatic (cough), and a hardy liver.
Not every marketer is ready to admit they are a poet, and that's fine. We're a louche lot.
However, here are five quotations by poets that might help to unleash your inner poet into your marketing life:
- "Tell all the truth but tell it slant" - Emily Dickinson. In marketing as in poetry, there has to be an angle to your truth-telling (or lie-telling, as it were). Find the slant that will make your consumers look at your business in a fresh light.
- "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest." -T.S. Eliot. As with T.S. Eliot, I'm not suggesting you literally steal someone else's idea - but keep an eye out for techniques people are using, particularly, as he suggests, techniques that belong to a different context to yours and that could be transformed entirely by being applied to yours. Heed his warning for cohesion too.
- "I say drop a mouse into a poem / and watch him probe his way out" -Billy Collins. Collins' poem shows him struggling to get his students to engage with the poem playfully, instead, all they want to do is "tie the poem to a chair with rope / and torture a confession out of it". Don't torture yourself at your desk - introduce elements of play or gamification to your practice.
- "Poetry carries its history within it, and it is oral in its origins, its transmission was oral." -James Fenton. A reminder that however creative your digital and print marketing is, nothing replaces the impact of irl (in real life) interactions.
- "Most people ignore most poetry, because most poetry ignores most people" -Adrian Mitchell. An especially apt quotation to remember in this age of adblock and reduced attention spans: don't forget to put your prospective and current clients at the heart of every marketing activity you do if you don't want it to be, in turn, ignored.
Can you think of more?