The New Marketing Rules: Marketing by Helping with Mark LeonardRead Time: 7 minutes



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For so long, marketing was all about promoting a product. But as Mark Leonard of Ictus Strategic Marketing tells us in this week’s podcast, it is no longer just the product marketers should be falling in love with: it’s the consumers.


The first conversation Mark has with clients is centered around the customer and focuses on value added marketing. He tells us that our tendency is to fall deeply in love with our product and company, but that in the 21st century you have to focus on falling in love with WHO you are trying to help instead of WHAT you are selling. The conversation you have to have is around “How can you best help your customers?”

He starts by asking these questions:

  1. How can you do it better?
  2. What are your customers’ needs?
  3. How are you communicating?
  4. How are you making sure it is two-way communication?

He follows with:

  • How do your customers use the product?
  • What would they like to see done differently?

When you redirect your thought process and focus more on your customer, your marketing creates value by putting your consumer first. You need to focus the website and product around who the customer is. Your customers need to see themselves in that market.


For some CEOs, marketing by giving free resources can be hard to swallow. Traditionally, there is the fear that if you put everything you know in the internet, you will be copied by your competitors.

However, instead of getting caught up in that fear, you should be so helpful to customers that they don’t even think about the competitors. Helpfulness often comes in the form of information. Help them make decisions. Whether they choose your product or not, you need to be helpful.


In the 21st century, customers are smart. Telling them how great your product is will not inspire them to purchase it. Of course you say your product is the best. You’re trying to sell it!

Customers today are willing to do their research on a brand. Therefore, instead of pushing your product, help customers do that research. By doing so, you are creating value and positively impacting how customers view your brand.

Tell the consumer what they should be thinking about. Mark uses the example of the school he is working to start. Instead of creating blog posts about how great his school is, he has a variety of articles that inform potential students about what they should look for in a college.

Do they want a big school? Online programs? Mark challenges consumers to consider all of their needs and make the best choice for them, even if it isn’t the product he is selling. This is a way of adding value for customers.

Why should you take on this risk? Consumers are going to find the information somewhere. The internet is a universe of information. The question you should ask is: do you want your customers going somewhere else for that info or to you?

Become the authority in your market so people come to you for that information.


  • Marketing is about loving your customer, not the product.
  • Do your best to help the customer, even when it means giving away free information
  • Become the go-to source of information for your market


  • Marketing has changed in the 21st century, and our tactics should change with it.
  • In marketing, you should wake up every morning asking how you can help the customer.
  • Use free resources as a way to build trust and a relationship with customers to lead them to what you are selling.


Ictus Strategic Marketing Podcast

Teaching at Oak Valley College

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