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My wife doesn’t have a background in marketing, but here’s three ways she inspires me to be a better marketer. 

1. She’s helped me to understand people better.
My wife Ilona was born in Latvia and lived there until she moved to Canada when she was 17. We met when she was on a trip to New Zealand 15 years ago to visit her mum. Growing up in Europe she had a completely different upbringing to me, and I think this has helped me to fully appreciate the different values people have and how their unique perspectives on life are formed.

I’ve always been interested in understanding why people think the way they do, what drives them, and what motivates them to make decisions and choices. And it’s really fascinating when you look at those different perspectives from someone who comes from another country or culture.

This has certainly helped me become a more empathetic marketer.

It’s easy for us as marketers to get caught up in our own heads, to operate from our own world view, and to focus on what we want our customers to think. If we commit to deeply understanding our customer’s values and world view, our marketing would be far more powerful.

2. She can quickly turn a cold conversation into a warm one.
I’m not the most social person in the world. I don’t really like talking to strangers, at least not at first. But my wife is an expert at it – she can turn a cold conversation into a warm one in record time.

She makes instant connections wherever we go, from our local cafe to strangers we bump into while on holiday. For her, there are always new people to meet and new conversations to be had. She finds common ground, asks questions, and keeps the conversation light and fun.

I think too often in marketing we jump straight to the heavy, hard sell without first building a human connection. At the end of the day, we all do business with people, businesses, and brands that we like and have a personal connection with. And the very best way to build connection with our customers is to first show that we’re interested in their perspective and understand where they’re coming from.

3. She’s eternally optimistic.
Ilona is always optimistic about everything which is surprising considering that she’s had to face many challenges in her life. I tend to be more realistic and sometimes a bit of a “worst case scenario” thinker – which is both good and bad.

Optimism takes you a long way in marketing because it enables you to keep going when things aren’t going well or when things just don’t seem like they’ll ever work out. Optimism is what allows you to see the true potential of an idea or product, which means that no matter what happens, there is always something good waiting around the corner.

As Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Those who think they can, can. Most of the time. And if they can’t, their optimism won’t keep them from trying again. And again.

My wife is my biggest fan. She inspires me to be a better marketer every day.