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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a marketer in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a customer. Ever since it was penned 200 years ago, Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice has served as an unofficial guide on love and trust, not to mention the curriculum of many advanced-placement English courses. While it’s easy to get lost in the soaring traditions and formalities which defined courtship in England, the book remains relevant because it’s not really about how Elizabeth Bennet found love with Mr. Darcy. It’s about challenging the status quo and trust, messages which are remarkably familiar to many marketers on the cutting edge of their craft today.

Join us as we reveal the ways one of the most classic novels in the western canon can teach you to build a strategy which succeeds.

First Impressions are Everything

Pride and Prejudice simply wouldn’t be the same without the comedy of errors which surround Lizzy’s first meeting with Mr. Darcy. She found him arrogant, and he considered her plain. While Austen was able to artfully weave their paths into the happiest of endings, few marketers have the same luxury. Did you know the average consumer makes their mind up about the quality of your website in 3 seconds or less? Don’t risk losing a prospect to a different suitor because second chances rarely exist in business, like they do in literature.

Never Settle for Anything Less than Perfection

Lizzy was no shrinking violet, especially considering her era. For a woman of her social station to turn down not one, but two marriage proposals was downright gutsy. The single life was a downright unappealing prospect in the early 19th century, but she refused to settle for mediocrity. Pride and Prejudice teaches us that a discerning attitude can yield remarkable results. Never settle for anything less than perfection in your marketing strategy. Settling can lead to terrible results, like we saw when Lizzy’s friend Charlotte went for the wretched Mr. Collins.

Letters Matter

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There’s a single object which alters the course of life for both Mr. Darcy and Lizzy. It’s a handwritten letter, and it changes everything. While we can hardly expect you to see ROI from a quill-written letter to a prospect, email can have the same power over your marketing strategy. In fact, it still has the highest ROI of any major marketing tactic, with an average return of $40.56 for each dollar invested. If you’re concerned your contacts will be too quick to delete the mail to fall in love with your words, focus on creating more relevant messages. When used correctly, email is the furthest thing on earth from spamming of a “push” tactic.

Challenge the Status Quo

Few Austen experts would argue with the fact that Lizzy has become such a beloved character, and even role model for many, due to the fact that she wasn’t influenced by others. She might not have been the prettiest of her peers, but she was remarkable in her continual quest for knowledge. Leo Mylonadis, director of a recent stage production of Pride and Prejudice, points out that “Lizzie grew more knowledgeable than her contemporaries due to her thirst for knowledge.” Take a few pages from her book, and make continual education and development the focus of your marketing strategy. The bright minds behind modern inbound marketing would never have made strides if they had settled for the status quo. When research reveals that best practices have changed, be sure you’re ready and nimble enough to adopt them.

In many ways, Austen was the modern-day equivalent of a thought leader. If she’d simply adopted the styles and trends in her era’s literature, we wouldn’t be finding profound truths in her work 200 years later. While we can’t speak for everyone, we’re confident that she’s one of the brightest marketing minds to date. Dear reader, do you dare promote your solutions with the same intelligence and confidence as Elizabeth Bennet had in her approach to love and marriage?

What marketing lessons have you learned from Pride and Prejudice, or other works of classic literature?

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