The One Thing You Must Get Right in Marketing

Adam Dudley
3 min readAug 3, 2021
Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

I started my marketing career in 2002 when I formed my first corporation. I was fortunate to learn this one marketing principle early on. It’s simple, elegant, and rooted in truth. I’ll give it to you here, so you don’t have to waste time searching.

Marketing success is about aligning the three elements of the marketing rubric. Message, Market, Media. It’s about getting the right message in front of the right people through channels where you can reach them.

1. Market

People with similar attributes make up a market. It’s the same for B2B and B2C. In fact, these terms are misleading. All marketing is Person-2-Person (P2P). Doesn’t matter if you’re marketing to businesses or consumers. At any scale, you’re still a person communicating with other people. Don’t forget this!

Layers upon layers of technology now separate us from other people. That’s a blind spot. A weakness. Today’s marketers can’t afford to forget the feelings of the people across the channel. Empathy is a must for any great communicator, and marketing is communication. The better you know the people in a market, the easier it is to craft messages and find channels that work.

2. Message

The message can be words, images, offers, and more. It can involve all the senses: sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste. The message is your proposition to the people in the market. It answers the all-important questions, What’s in it for me? and Why should I pay attention to you?

I’ve always thought a product and the use cases it addresses can be the message. This is often the case with software technology. Entrepreneurs build tech to solve a problem. They share it with some early adopters in alpha and beta to get feedback. The product is the message. Put another way, the message is in the product.

Testing different messages in many channels can help you find an ideal one. At the very least, you can learn which messages work in which channels. If you roll out a message to the right market through the right channel and it fails, then you have a message problem.

3. Media

Channels, as opposed to media, is the word I see used more often today to describe the ways used to reach a market. That’s all it is. A channel. Don’t forget that when the insane world of marketing and ad tech gets overwhelming. The channels that matter allow you to reach people at a profit.

You can have a great message, but if you don’t know where to reach the market, traction will elude you. Channels can be search, space ads, websites, conferences, partners, marketplaces, social, billboards, etc.

My career has spanned the shift to digital, and the main change in that time has been the explosion in quantity, complexity, and sophistication of digital channels. But that change is superficial and subject to change itself.

The marketing rubric of market, message, media is forever. It’s a rubric you can rely on. It will guide you through the noise and help you diagnose issues when you’re lost. Count on it!


1. The marketing rubric has three elements: message, market, media. Align them. Magic will ensue.

2. A market is people. All marketing is Person-2-Person (P2P). There is no B2B and B2C.

3. Messages are offers and can involve all the senses. Products themselves can be the messages.

4. Channels are more abundant, technical, and complex today than they were 20 years ago. You only care about the channels where you can reach the market at a profit.



Adam Dudley

On a mission to make the world a little better and brighter. Topics: Startups, Philosophy, Technology, Leadership, Strategy, Business, Health, Neuroscience, AI