In Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others DieChip and Dan Heath describe six factors that determine whether an idea thrives or withers on the vine. If you allow these principles to guide your marketing efforts, you’ll find that your messaging is resonates with your audience and spreads like wildfire.

The 6 Principles of Sticky Marketing

The principles make up what the Heath Brothers call the Succes(s) Framework, where “SUCCES” stands for:

  1. Simple. Distill your message down to a key takeaway.
  2. Unexpected. Generate interest or curiosity with something counter-intuitive or surprising.
  3. Concrete. Take the abstract and make it real.
  4. Credible. Include vivid details and appeals to authority.
  5. Emotional. Appeal to your audience’s emotions or sense of identity.
  6. Stories. Wrap your message in a story whenever possible.

I’ll let one of the best pitchmen of all time demonstrate. Apple’s marketing stands out for a lot of reasons, but their success largely depended on one man and his ability to apply these principles– Steve Jobs.


But the biggest thing about iPod is that it holds 1000 songs.

So this is what’s so remarkable about iPod: it’s ultraportable.

Jobs went over a lot in this presentation, but he kept coming back to the core message. A thousand songs. In your pocket. Ultra-portable.

Determine your unique selling proposition, and prioritize that information above all else. In your advertising, your content marketing, your social media posts, etc.

Key Takeaway for Marketers: Make sure your core message is clear to your audience.


I happen to have one right here in my pocket in fact.

After building up the iPod for all that time, Jobs surprises everyone by pulling one out of his pocket. (Which also serves to emphasize the key message: it’s ultra-portable.)

Key Takeaway for Marketers: Always look for ways to arouse curiosity or surprise.


This amazing little device holds a thousand songs, and it goes right in my pocket.

iPod is the size of a deck of cards.

The audience couldn’t touch or hold the iPod, so Jobs related it to things they could understand. It fits in your pocket. It’s the size of a deck of cards.

Key Takeaway for Marketers: Look for ways to tie your message to your audience’s experiences.


…people trust the Apple brand…

So let’s look at portable music. Let’s look at the landscape…

Jobs relies on Apple’s strong brand and a lot of detail to give his presentation credibility. Throughout the presentation he goes in depth talking about batteries, audio formats, memory space, and price. That’s important (as long as you don’t let your core message get lost in the sea of detail), but even more important is playing to authority when you can.

Apple has authority in the digital marketplace. Jobs knew this, and he made sure his audience did too.

Key Takeaways for Marketers: Don’t be afraid to appeal to authority. When you don’t have any authority to draw from, rely on vivid details.


But the coolest thing about iPod is that your entire music library fits in your pocket.

Nobody thinks about this anymore, but back then it was really exciting to imagine carrying your whole library around in your pocket. Now we all have computers in our pockets (AKA smartphones), but when Jobs made this presentation he knew that his audience would be blown away by the idea of fitting hundreds of CDs worth of songs in their pockets.

Key Takeaway for Marketers: Find your product or service’s wow factor.


What happens if I’m on the road…

Jobs helps his audience visualize the benefits of the iPod by using a hypothetical situation. This sort of visualization engages our brains in a way that nothing else can.

Key Takeaway for Marketers: Stories are incredibly powerful. Use them whenever you can.

Get Sticky

Nothing can save a bad product. But if you’ve got something great to sell, don’t let bad marketing kill it.

If you practice these principles in all your marketing and sales materials you will give your product or service the best opportunity for success. To learn more about sticky marketing (and read the first chapter of Made to Stick for free), check out the Heath Brother’s resource page.

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