3 Displays of Marketing Genius in Real Life

At its core, marketing is about solving the pain points of your buyers.

As Jonathan Lister of LinkedIn says, “As marketers, we should be changing the mantra from always be closing to always be helping.”

Marketing genius can feel tricky and elusive to some, but it doesn’t have to be any more complicated than simply helping others make their lives easier.

Below are three real-life examples of marketing genius I’ve recently experienced, marveled at, and learned from.

3 Displays of Marketing Genius in Real Life

1) Apple’s New Face ID

Apple has been synonymous with “marketing genius” for a while now, but have you ever stopped to think why that is?

One of the more recent reasons has been their ability to quickly see, adapt, and meet the needs of their users amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic came with many frustrations: online learning, shutdowns, vaccinations, etc. COVID also brought with it mask-wearing, and as every Apple user knows, it’s a real pain not to be able to open your phone with your face I.D. because you’re wearing a mask.

So, Apple responded to the pain point.

First, Apple began to meet this need with the iOS 14.5 upgrade, which allowed users to unlock their phones with their Apple Watch. It was a great start, but not all Apple users own Apple Watches.

Apple kept working on the pain point, and in March of 2022, Apple upgraded its face I.D. to work even when a user was still wearing a mask. True to Apple form, however, this feature only works on iOS 15.4 and later and the iPhone 12 or later, so you have to upgrade.


What are the pain points of your print buyers that you can and should be solving? Do a little research by reaching out to a handful of your best customers and asking, “How can I make your print ordering experience easier?” When they respond, don’t get defensive, but listen to what they’re saying and work to solve those pain points through your products and services. This will also open up doors for you to present solutions they might not have known about, such as Private Label Websites or the ability to design online with DesignEdit.

2) A Little Sugar Goes a Long Way

My oldest son, J.J., is almost 21 years old and doesn’t even realize his marketing genius sometimes.

I’ll never forget the time a few years ago when J.J. bought a sweatshirt that was the wrong size. Instead of returning the item (like I would have), I watched in amazement as he marketed the benefits of that sweatshirt to a friend he had over at the time. By the time that friend left, J.J. had him on a $10 a month rent-to-own plan to purchase the sweatshirt!

Recently, J.J. impressed me again with his ingenuity in marketing, and this time, all it took were several dozen donuts.

J.J. currently works for Fargo Phone Repair, where he repairs and resells phones, computers, and accessories. They were looking for a way to gain referral traffic from the larger phone dealers around town, such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.

J.J. loaded up his car with boxes of donuts and went to all the other phone stores around town, delivering those sugary angel rings and asking if they would send referral business his way if the need arose.

And you know what? It worked! J.J. told me the other day that he’s been getting referral business every day for the past few weeks.


Sometimes all it takes to gain additional traction for your print business is for others to know you’re there, available, and willing. Of course, a little sugar can go a long way too. Who can you reach out to this week? A prospect? Client? Paper vendor?

3) The Power of Belonging

Earlier this year, my daughter inspired me to sponsor a child through a company called World Vision.

The gist is simple: I could provide a child with food, faith, clean water, education, healthcare, and more for about a dollar a day.

World Vision isn’t new to me. For years, I’d been to events where they would market sponsoring a child by placing a child’s picture and a packet of information on your seat at the event. Often, event artists or speakers would encourage you to choose a child with the exact birthdate as a relative or age of your children as another marketing angle.

But here’s the real marketing genius; World Vision flipped its whole marketing strategy on its head. Instead of a sponsor choosing a child, the child now gets to pick their sponsor! How cool is that?

When I signed up on the website and submitted my picture, they kept me informed on which country my photo was going to and what day I would be chosen. Here I was, signing up to give my money away each month, but I was the one experiencing excitement and anticipation by the thought of waiting to be chosen.

I’ll never forget the day I opened my email and at the top was a picture of a little boy named Tebeho holding my picture. The email indicated that he had chosen me to be his sponsor because, as his note said, “You are good.”

What a powerful experience. It solidified my commitment to sponsor Tebeho and excited me at what I got to be part of. The genius of the marketing shift didn’t even really hit me until after the fact because I was so caught up in it. It reminded me of what marketing leader Joe Chernov says, “Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.”


The ethos of belonging is one of the most powerful marketing tactics there is. Everyone wants to be included and part of the club, including your print buyers. Be on the lookout for ways to make your print buyers feel like they belong in your club, and they get to order printing from you. This could be as simple as maintaining connection through monthly direct mail or email content or more in-depth, such as a loyalty program, exclusive membership or VIP program, and more.

Have a marketing genius story of your own? Let us know about it!

Written by

Rachel Nies

Director of Marketing, Marketing Ideas For Printers

Rachel has a passion for helping others succeed. She doesn’t like the limelight but will do everything she can to help you get there. A born implementer with a love for content creation, editing, project management and administration, Rachel uses her unique abilities as the Director of Marketing at Marketing Ideas For Printers, helping printers across the country sell more printing through marketing content and online ordering solutions.