For those of you who grew up with Star Wars, or for others who understand this great space saga is the Iliad and Odyssey of our time, then you know that Yoda is the great oracle. But what does a little green man know about marketing? Considering that another green lizard is the spokesperson for Geico, then you have to believe that Yoda knows a little more than the quick-witted insurance pitchman.

For someone who lived for 900 years, he surely saw a considerable amount of good and bad marketing, so what key take-aways can he teach us?

“Do or do not. There is no try.” 

You either have to commit to marketing, or not. No one wants to hear, “I’ll try to write that blog post,” or “I’ll try to post three times a week on LinkedIn and Facebook.” Either do it, or get out of the arena. And I will add another pithy to the discussion: perfect is the enemy of good. You’re not expected to write a sonnet, Shakespeare, just a clear and concise paragraph extolling what you do best. No more excuses, Just do it!

“A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” 

I have to tell you the dirty little secret of negative advertising – it works. But we are better than that, since we follow the ways of the Jedi. We only use our talents for good. But since we will need to battle with the dark side, we need to know what may be used against us. I think it’s vital to do an exercise to determine what others may be saying about us, so we can combat the negatives. This takes a real introspective approach, but is essential for understanding how others may come at you.

Yoda on Marketing

“The greatest teacher, failure is.” 

For those of us who have taken the road less traveled and gone into business for ourselves, we know how failure is our great instructor. Applied to marketing, no professional marketer has the crystal ball or secret sauce to tell you which of your marketing activities will actually work. Sometimes you do have to break a few things until you really figure out what sticks. Consistency is the only foolproof strategy I know. You need to persevere and continuously stay top of mind if you want to stand out in the marketing universe.

“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.” 

Children have not been bombarded yet by the millions of ads. Their minds are like sponges that have not been oversaturated. Plus, they often bring innocence to a cynical world. I am amazed sometimes when I hear my own kids reciting jingles that they hear on the radio and television. What was it about one jingle over the other that motivated them to repeat it, and imagine a marketer’s surprise when it’s reported that kids are singing their jingles to their parents? Now, that’s one way to increase the frequency of a message.

“Pass on what you have learned.”

Enough said, I think this one speaks for itself.

John Houle is the president of JH Communications and can be reached at 401.831.6123 or at