There are people in the world who just shine, who radiate insight, humor. Who make you think. Who make you mediate. Whose wisdom and insight crosses their field to yours. Such, of course, is the great Yogi Berra. In homage, here are my mediations on some of his quotes and what they mean to me as a marketer.
Quotes from Yogi Berra and their Marketing Meaning
#1 – “You can observe a lot by watching.” Don’t believe what you read (certainly about SEO, social media, any type of marketing). Believe what you can see, what you can test, what you can measure. The blither and blather of the blogosphere so often contradicts what actually works. For example, I’m reading The Art of SEO right now – a great book, but much of what it “says” to be true is contradicted by actual experience.
#2 – “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” Wow, is this one true in online marketing or what? The theory will tell you you should do X or Y, but the practice will tell you that that doesn’t work, or that something else works better, and the practice contradicts the theory. I have many gimmicks and goto’s that “work” but I don’t really know why. I do them, and they get results for my clients. Why? How should I know? They just work. SEO, social media, all marketing is more like cooking than like physics: there’s an art to it, that “can’t be taught” and often can’t even “be explained.”
#3 – “It ain’t over till it’s over.” One of my favorite movies is Galaxy Quest: “Never give up, never surrender.” Same idea as Yogi’s. You get nowhere in life (or in marketing) by quitting. Keep trying. Keep experimenting. Keep at it. You’ll throw a thousand ideas on that wall, and only one will stick (it will always be the last one, too). It will always be the last one, just like that sock is always found in the last place you look: a law of the universe.
#4 – “There are some people who, if they don’t already know, you can’t tell them.” I love this one: it makes me laugh, and it makes me cry. There are so many people we encounter in life who have such profoundly closed minds that you can’t “tell” them anything or “teach” them anything. Unfortunately, most of these seem to be in upper management, too. How did they get there? I just don’t know. But you can’t get them to cooperate with your marketing plans: usually you have to “go around them.” Until they realize that your idea is their idea, and then they force you to do what you were already doing in the first place (and take credit for it).
#5 – “I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question.” How many answers do we have in SEO and social media, that we just keep answering and answering and answering? Write great content. Get links. Post stuff to social media that people actually want to read. Easy to say, hard to do. Easy to do, hard to keep doing. It’s really not that hard: you just have to stay at it. There isn’t any profound “new” answers to these questions, other than hard work and stick-at-itness. Content marketing? Old wine in new bottles.
#6 – “You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.” Be respectful of other people, of history, of their intellectual contributions. And when you read a quote from Yogi. Take a minute to ponder it. This one took me a few seconds to “get” the irony.
Bye, bye Yogi – we will miss you.
~ Jason McDonald, September 23, 2015