Dwight, You Ignorant Marketer: 12 Marketing Principles That We’ve Learned From The Office

Caitee Smith
5 min readApr 7, 2023

Whoever thought that creating a television show about a paper company was a good idea was absolutely right. If you’ve ever worked in an office environment, you likely can relate to the perks and quandaries at Dunder Mifflin.

The entire sales team of The Office, from Michael to Phyllis or Jim to Andy, has the advice to offer to those of us outside of Dunder Mifflin. We’ve compiled twelve principles that we’ve learned from binge-watching The Office for the 107th time.

1. Keep Your Customers Engaged.

Whether you’re sending out emails or posting to your social media, it’s important to keep your customers engaged and entertained. Whether it’s with a clever line or an interesting design. Or just take your customers to Chili’s.

2. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

KISS, or, keep it simple stupid, is actually a principle created by the US Navy. According to the Navy, “the KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.” Dwight and Michael follow this principle, and so should you.

3. Sometimes, You Need to Be Both a Leader and a Follower.

No matter what you do or where you work, being both a leader and a follower is important. You need to have both leadership skills and know when to listen and follow others. Just don’t join a cult.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Go Outside Your Comfort Zone.

Getting stuck inside your comfort zone and not thinking outside the box is easy. But the best ideas have always come from outside the box. Don’t be afraid to try new things. “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

5. Know How to Talk to Your Customers.

Most clients have different personalities, and because of that, you need to know how to talk to each of them. One client may be extremely professional in their dialogue, while another may be very casual and friendly. No matter what, always be polite and helpful.

(Pro tip: calling your client an idiot is not recommended.)

6. “Establish time frames. Keep the phrase ‘real dollars’ in their heads. And always keep the power in the conversation. That’s why you’re losing them on the cold calls — because you say ‘please’ too much.”

This is a real sales tip from Dwight and Ryan. Know the language and know how to keep a balance in conversations about sales.

7. Have Brainstorming Sessions With Your Team.

I really benefit from brainstorming sessions within whatever team I’m working with. It makes the creative process extremely fluid when you have someone to bounce your ideas off and refine and perfect them.

8. Don’t Be an Idiot.

Plain and simple. Know what you’re selling; know what you’re talking about. Use proper grammar. Be sensitive to current topical conversations. Show up to work on time. Take time for yourself. Eat a well-balanced diet. Get enough sleep.

9. Don’t Forget to Support IT.

The IT department never gets enough love and always does the most. Whether you can’t connect to the internet, your phone isn’t functioning properly, or your computer won’t turn on, they always know the fix. They are a truly underestimated department with many stories to tell.

10. Validating Your Coworkers and Employees Goes a Long Way.

While validation shouldn’t necessarily be essential to the workday, it really does help to hear that you’re doing a good job and someone else recognizes your hard work. Personally, it makes me want to work harder and continue impressing those that offer recognition.

11. Don’t Forget to Humanize Your Business.

Most of our business is done via the Internet or over the phone, especially during COVID-19. It’s sometimes easy to forget that you’re talking to another human being; therefore, you may come across as cold and faceless. Remind everyone on the other end that you’re human by using personalization, writing with personality, or showing off your employees on social media.

12. Make Where You Work Home.

This seems like a principle that a lot of people don’t take advantage of. You spend at least 40 hours a week in one work environment with the same people for weeks, months, or years. Why not make them your family and make your office feel like home?

There are nine seasons and 201 episodes of The Office — plenty to learn from and laugh at. While The Office is simply a sitcom, it’s a great example of modern workspaces, colleague interactions, and everyday mishaps.

  • What’s your favorite episode of The Office?
  • Are you someone who hasn’t watched The Office? Why are you the way that you are?
  • What other sales and marketing principles did The Office teach us?

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Caitee Smith

I write about everything from web development to digital marketing. I'm a creative Front End Developer, Wedding Photographer, CIS Student, and ADK hiker.