What I learned about marketing from Sesame Street

What I learned about marketing from Sesame Street

Running a business can really put my multitasking skills to the test. Nowhere does this become more evident than when I am engaging in social media, writing my blog or planning my next direct mail campaign.

I was reminded of this when a friend posted this video to his facebook page. It’s a classic from 1986, and it includes some of the things I always loved best about Sesame Street – engaging characters, good music and surprise guest appearances by famous people. Sorry, but Katy Perry is not in this one, although it does include John Candy, PeeWee Herman, Jeremy Irons and Danny Devito (you can read the entire list here).


The idea that Ernie has to stop doing one thing if he wants to do another thing well is the also true in creating effective marketing. You have to focus on it, and not just throw out any idea you think sounds good.

Here’s a short checklist for building your marketing program:

  • Understand who is your target audience and where to find them
  • Figure out how what you offer benefits THEM and why they would want it
  • Determine your goal for each campaign and focus on the elements to achieve it
  • Engage through multiple channels where your audience can opt-in to your message
  • Craft well-written communications.
  • For visually oriented materials, use clear and attractive design
  • For printed materials, use quality production processes
  • For promotional products, only use items that reinforce your brand or message
  • For distribution, use the digital and physical channels that meet your strategic goals

It’s one thing to have a checklist. It’s another thing entirely to do all those things well by yourself. To be truly effective, you have to figure which of the items in the checklist you do really well, and then delegate the rest to people that do them better than you.

Thirty years ago I had aspirations of being a graphic designer. Fortunately, I realized I was actually not very good at it because I seemed to lack the right creativity gene. Instead, my career evolved into becoming an idea translator for people with creative ideas, producing physical products out of their vision. That’s what I do best.

As a business owner and marketer, I have to remember that there are other people who are better at items on the checklist than me. It means letting go of some of these tasks, so that I can focus on the things that I do really well.

I have to put down the duckie.

With over 30 years of working inside and outside printing, promotional and marketing companies, Jamie Bradley helps clients source and produce great marketing materials. He writes these occasional blogs to share ideas on how to create better and more effective products.

1 Comment on “What I learned about marketing from Sesame Street

  1. Awesome website! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am taking your feeds also.