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Malcolm Gladwell sold millions of copies of his book The Tipping Point, and he made millions of dollars on the concept he wrote about. But, he didn't discover it.

An unknown political science professor, Morton Grodzins, first conceived of "the tipping point" more than 40 years before Gladwell released his book. Yet, Grodzins didn't make millions of dollars.

Gladwell went on to sell millions of copies of his book Outliers, and he made millions of dollars, again. One of the key principles he described was a concept called "deliberate practice." And, you guessed it. The original theory was developed by someone else—Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericcson, who toils in academic anonymity while Gladwell hits the big-dollar talk-show and speaking circuits.

Gladwell 'Messaged It Great'

What did Gladwell do that those other guys didn't? Why was he able to make millions while Grodzins and Ericcson never hit the mainstream?

He messaged it great. Gladwell was able to take very geeky, academic concepts and connect with the buying public, getting them to part with their money. The other guys didn't.

Have you ever been frustrated that a less-dominant competitor beat you and your company? Are your customers continually trying to commoditize you? Or, maybe you're the one who needs to outsell a more innovative competitor.

Regardless, as a marketer, you are charged with creating your company's story and getting it told in a way that drives growth. It's your job to message it great.

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image of Tim Riesterer

Tim Riesterer is chief strategy and marketing officer of Corporate Visions Inc. He is the co-author of Customer Message Management and Conversations that Win The Complex Sale,

LinkedIn: Tim Riesterer