Mastering Marketing Without a Mentor

Ever since I was a little kid, I just loved marketing. The challenge I had was that I was born in a sheltered environment where my parents did not own a TV. I was surrounded by books and had minimal exposure to a newspaper. If I wanted to watch TV,(which I did) I had to make up an excuse to go to my Grandmothers house. Now that I think about it, most parents have a TV to be the babysitter. My parents didn’t have a TV to turn my Grandmother into a Babysitter. Genius.
I still remember watching Tom and Jerry at my Grandmothers House, and my father walked in and turned off the TV, because he felt it taught violent behavior (If only he knew about the “Itchy and Scratchy Show?!”)
I remember watching a commercial where a parent tricked their kid into going to the dentist and my father insisted that watching parents lie to their kids on TV would turn me into a liar. I’m not gonna claim I never told a lie, although I certainly never chopped down a cherry tree, but there was certainly some truth to that. You and I are influenced by our environment, and every word and experience we are exposed to influences who we are and who we become. While most of who you are and what happens in your life is 80% behavior and 20% circumstances, everything that happens influences us in some way.
Maybe this is why I so badly wanted to write commercials when I grow up. Why I wanted to do marketing so badly. One thing I know is that I was born to do marketing, and I love teaching and sharing what I learn along the way, so while I learned most of what I know about marketing from the mean streets of the blogosphere, sprinkled with a few doses of back-against-the-wall reality, I learned a thing or two about marketing, and continue to learn more and more every day.
In a way, I want you to be able to read this blog and bypass all the hard lessons I had to learn to grow your business making a few less mistakes, because I already made them for you.

Regardless of my limited exposure to advertising and outside influences, I started selling as far back as I can remember. While, I am barely 30 years old right now, I feel like I have 25 years experience doing marketing. I can see how selling a pencil for a dollar at 5 years old might not make me a David Ogilvy, or selling pickles in the school yard might not make me a Seth Godin, or why reselling childrens book club books my parents bought for me (100% profit using OPM 🙂 at the age of 7 might not make me a Claude Hopkins, the simple truth remains. Everywhere I looked, Everywhere I was, I saw opportunity. I sold Worlds Finest chocolates for school. I sold Gold C books to neighbors, I joined childrens selling clubs to win prizes. I sold, I sold, I sold.

I never had a mentor for marketing. In fact, due to my sheltered background marketing was somewhat taboo. (ok, very taboo!). A career in advertising was a considered a fools dream.

I wish I knew who Claude Hopkins was when I was 10, I had to wait til I was 23. I wish I knew who David Ogilvy was when I was 11, I had to wait til I was 25.
Still, like Uncle Claude, and others like him. I didn’t need a mentor. I just needed a Drive. I Needed to want it bad enough. When there is a will there is a way.
As Napolean Hill states, “The first thing you need is a Burning Desire.” That, I had! I had a burning desire to master marketing even without a mentor.

About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $50,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.


  1. Marianna Elizabeth Beavis says

    I feel like exposing yourself to marketing and making an effort to learn about it is very important in today’s world, even if you don’t have a mentor. With the internet these days (as you mentioned, you used the blogosphere as a tool), learning new skills is suddenly much more fathomable then it would have been when you were a kid, and to me, it’s because of the internet that marketing has become so important. I believe anyone can benefit in day to day life with marketing skills, simply because it helps increase confidence and furthers an ability to communicate with other people, but with so many people trying to make their own careers in the growing industries online, it’s very necessary in general. A lot of the people doing so won’t have access to someone to teach them, but if they make the effort to learn on their own, they’re taking a good first step to growing their ideas and businesses.

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