Eternally Saleable

It is true that each and every individual leaves a mark of his or her existence – in whatever small way – in the world. Whether it is a book written, a work of art, political or academic legacy, an app created, or even working on a project for one’s company, each and every individual should endeavor to make their work and creation eternal.

However, in today’s times, the constant need and want for something new poses a challenge to ensuring that one’s work is perennial. This fact is true especially in the field of marketing, where creativity is a constant requirement, and the need to thrive and survive is at the forefront. How do company’s, therefore, ensure that they create brands that are everlasting?

Ryan Holiday’s Perennial Seller (2017) is a guide that shows the way to perennial selling, how to ensure creativity trumps constant newness making products, services, and campaigns last.

The Hard Graft

It was earlier touted that the success of any product lies in 80% marketing and 20% creativity. However, this notion has been proved wrong time and again. It is in fact creativity that ensures a long-standing, perennial product. Additionally, creativity needs a lot of hard work and one’s product needs to be outstanding from the word go!

No one has learned this lesson harder than Microsoft. The failure of their Zune MP3 player and the search engine Bing proves that marketing can never cover the shortcoming of a product. On the other hand, Microsoft Office has constantly improved over time, becoming a 25–year long, perennial success, simply due to the excellent software design.

However, having a stunner product needs creating a stunner product. One might have the best award-winning ideas, but things will never fly off the shelf if ideas aren’t put into action. Sarah Silverman, the writer and comedian aptly said, “You needn’t wait for someone’s approval to get going: just write!”

How does on therefore, get into the grind, to combine creativity and hard work and turn that great idea into something concrete?

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday
Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

Sacrifice And Motivation Lead To Success

Actual concrete results do not happen with the right kind of motivation. Without that strong sense of purpose no professional football player ever made it to the starry leagues. The same applies to creative work. It needs the push of purpose and motivation to overcome obstacles. If a writer with the purpose of creating change and goodwill in the world doesn’t find success in the books or articles he writes, he wouldn’t simply give up! He would strive to get creative and write better because the drive of his worthwhile agenda will motivate him.

One’s sense of purpose can be fuelled by certain desperate situations too. A person who has desperate to provide for his family’s survival will be driven with a sense of purpose to work hard. Desperation fuels success, but it needs the willingness to make sacrifices too.

The professional football player, for example, has the choice of chilling out with friends, partying, and enjoying their time sipping beers, but they choose to sweat it out in the gym and ensure that they keep fit. Similarly, writers and artists sacrifice by shutting themselves out from the world to achieve their creative successes.

Thus sacrifices are vital to ensuring that hard work pays off.

How to Be A Successful Artist

It is a paradoxical fact that there is more to being creative than creativity alone. Writers don’t find success in simply writing a book and shipping it off to a publisher. It needs hard work, and one has to become one’s own CEO.

Often, creative people leave the marketing, promotion, and editing of their work to others. However, that is possible only when they either have enough money to do it or are already famous for their work.

The world is an extremely competitive market. For example, considering more than 300,000 books are published in the US yearly; writers have their hard work cut out. They will need to be more than geniuses and become their own CEOs to ensure successful strategies for their work to stand out.

While the responsibilities of success rest on one’s own shoulders, one also needs a third-party perspective in the form of an editor. This editor should be a professional in the field and be someone who can be trusted with their honesty. For example, musicians can turn to composers and sound engineers, writers can seek assistance from actual editors, and athletes need a coach to guide them to success.

People often tend to miss this vital step of employing an editor to oversee and critique their work. For example, the book To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is considered a timeless classic. However, the book began its journey as an imperfect manuscript in the hands of editor Tay Hohof, a person Lee trusted. Hohof was a brutal critique. She ensured that Lee reworked the text and demanded that it was made more coherent and structured. Her editorial efforts made the book the classic it is today and Lee a renowned name.

Testing To Perfection

People tend to relax, as they inch closer to the finish line.  However, in order to ensure the success of the creative work, one has to become almost obsessive with perfecting it. Incorporating surprise quality control methods is one way to do this.

Max Martin, the producer and composer, who has written songs for personalities like Adele and Celine Dion, developed the LA Car Test over the years. He cruises down the Pacific Coast Highway, playing the song he wishes to test on full blast. This enables him to hear his music like listeners would on the radio. If he likes the song then, he knows that it will work for the public too.

One can use another method, called the One Sentence, One Paragraph, One Page method.  In this, one should compare the product in hand with the original idea and check how close the product is to what was originally imagined or decided. To do this, one can write down exactly what the project is about in one sentence. Next, describe the same thing in one paragraph and next, describe it on one page. This exercise helps in ascertaining the coherency of the project.

For example, if a writer has written an autobiography that has some fictional content, it will be difficult to describe the book using the one sentence, one paragraph, one-page method. This will help the writer refine the content of the autobiography.

Thus being able to describe one’s work in a convincing and concise manner is vital to ascertain whether the creation or product is perfect. Until then, one needs to keep improvising, enhancing, and testing.

Marketing One’s Own Creation

In every creative field, competition is rife. Therefore ensuring that one’s own work stands out and gets noticed by the audience needs serious marketing efforts. While many reach out to marketing professionals, they need to be fully invested in the marketing efforts of their creative work themselves. 

While professionals will put in some effort because they are paid to do it, the person who has created the work will be most invested in pushing their work, and ensuring that their product or creation has been represented in the best way possible.

Being the marketer of ones own product is extremely crucial, because one will care about it, as much the creator will.

Additionally, the virtue of humility is vital to market one’s own product. For example, one of the author’s clients had the opportunity to advertise a new product on many successful podcasts. However, the client wanted to finish his bit in one single conference call, rather than go on each podcast. The author reminded his client that such opportunities are one in a million and that humility is an important virtue, especially if he wants others to value his new product. The client agreed, and the result was a successful marketing coup.

The Importance Of Word-Of-Mouth

Every creation or product begins at the point where the audience has no idea about its existence. However, there are many strategies to get the audience talking about the creation. There are no hard and fast rules to which strategies one wishes to employ to market their product or creation.

Steven Pressfield’s 2011 ‘The Warrior Ethos’ was entirely self-published and marketed. Pressfield used a unique marketing strategy. He made a special military edition and distributed about 18,000 copies among army contacts and friends. Even though it took a whale of an effort to publish, distribute, and deliver the books, the efforts were worth it. The following months saw the sales figures shoot through the roof, with about 13,000 copies being sold even today!

It was word-of-mouth that worked its wonders in making the book popular.

According to the consulting firm McKinsey, about 20% to 50% of purchase decisions of consumers are based on word-of-mouth. Recommendations from friends and family amount to marketing magic! For example, people are more likely to make a purchase if the product is recommended by a close friend than if it is mentioned in passing by an acquaintance. Additionally, word-of-mouth ensures long-term sales.

With word-of-mouth being a marketing magic wand, social media is Hogwarts!!!

Creating A Platform

Achieving creative excellence and/ or product success should not be one-time, flash-in-the-pan. Neither should it be the only career-defining achievement. Continued success requires a platform wherein one can nurture their persona as a creator and combine connections, communications, and skills, and link them with the audience and followers.

 Such a platform is a necessity especially when the going gets tough. His rivals for example, despite having a successful political career early on, put Winston Churchill on the back burner from 1931 to 1939 due to his radicalized stances on the independence of India. However, Churchill had a second platform ready. He spent his downtime writing articles and books, and even made radio appearances, keeping his influence alive and ensuring the people did not forget him during his time of exile. 

Having a platform also ensures having success independent of others and truly owning it. The filmmaker Casey Neistat had a promising film career with two premiers at Cannes. However, he decided to have his own independent platform on YouTube. By cutting out the middleman, he not only ensured making and owning his own profits but also has his own audience and gets to decide what to broadcast. He created his own artistic freedom.

The Importance Of Mailing Lists

Imagine if suddenly an artist wakes up to find that the media is no longer interested in his work, his marketing tactics are failing and he is losing the ability to garner more followers.

While earlier, this would have simply qualified as a sheer nightmare, today; artists have a ray of hope in the event of such a thing happening – a mailing list!

A mailing list is a direct mode of communication with those who are interested in the work of the artist, know the value of his artwork, and are supportive in some way or the other. It, however, takes time to build such a database of fans and followers. Thus it is essential that the artists start building these mailing lists as early as possible perhaps even before the product or the artwork being ready.

The heavy-metal band Iron Maiden used their mailing lists extremely well at a time when heavy metal was giving way to grunge music. Their mailing lists have kept them in touch with their fans, leading to sold-out concerts even today!

The author, similarly, ensured big sales of his first book. He kept a ready mailing list of persons who would be interested in reading his book before he published it. He did this by creating a monthly newsletter with reviews of books. This way he ensured that he not only gets his mailing contacts but also a ready platform for publishing his own book and gathering followers.


Keeping one’s creative work or product alive and kicking, one needs to combine creativity and hard work, be ready to make sacrifices, be obsessive about finding perfection in their artwork, and to that effect, keep testing. 

Additionally, ensuring that they have a perennial seller at hand, creative should be at the forefront when it comes to marketing their own work, use effective strategies such as word of mouth and mailing lists, and most importantly, create a platform wherein they have a back-up strategy to keep themselves and their product in the limelight!