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All I Ever Need to Know About Marketing I Learned From Patrick Swayze

Let’s begin with a sincere, heartfelt “thank you” to Kathryn Bigelow for some excellent films, but one especially. Before there was Zero Dark Thirty, before there was The Hurt Locker, there was Point Break. A movie about bank-robbing surfers? An FBI agent going undercover as a beach bum? Keanu Reeves? Gary Busey? Patrick Swayze? Yes, please.

Other than perhaps having the Keanu Reeviest-ever character name — Johnny Utah — nothing better captures this film’s elegant balance of Zen and cheddar than the following brilliance from Swayze’s villain-dude, Bodhi:

Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.


I call this Swayze’s Law of Marketing. In a world full of metrics and analytics dashboards, you can dial in just about every part of your brand, message and execution if you’re willing to invest the time and budget in research. At The Starr Conspiracy, we apply world-class primary and secondary research — both quantitative and qualitative — to get it right.

Here’s the thing: Even in the best of all possible worlds, there are gaps between what we know and what we believe that can never be closed through research. Then comes the last-mile problem that requires a judgment call. As marketing and advertising professionals, we apply our experience to bridge those gaps.

Be aware, the place you will land at that point may not feel very comfortable. That slight discomfort comes from the dissonance inside your head. You believe the work is good, but you’re worried it’s a little too raw. Don’t let yourself feel that way. That fear comes because you have something really clear, differentiated, memorable and true — the qualities you need to stand out from all the noise.

Fear is normal. Just don’t let that fear scare you. Trust us, brah. We know.