Hello, beautiful! Welcome to December and this week's issue... I'm glad you're here!
Last week, the day before Thanksgiving, I found myself standing at a supermarket deli counter, waiting for my number to be called so I could order my pound of Swiss and be out of there...
The vibe in the store felt a little frantic and chaotic—too many people waiting on too few deli-counter servers—because, well, Day Before Thanksgiving.
A guy in the swarm of people to my left who'd been waiting a while (dude, hadn't we all?) suddenly grumbled out loud in frustration: "What is taking you people So. Damned. Long!!"
Rude? Yes. Unwarranted, too. Was it that worker's fault if that customer kept sending back a loaf of something until it was sliced thinly enough...?
But on the other hand, the guy's outburst couldn't have reminded me of Marketing any more than if he'd actually bellied up to the counter and ordered a pound of gated white papers.
Because that's a big problem in Marketing today: Marketers as order-takers, fulfilling orders made by Entitled Supermarket Guy.
It's a common analogy first told to me by my favorite rabble rouser, Katie Martell. Entitled Supermarket Guy is:
🧀 The boss or the client who thinks he or she should be able to cut to the head of the line (even on Thanksgiving Eve).
🧀 Organizational expectations and priorities that shortchange quality work.
🧀 And (sometimes) it's us: not giving ourselves the time and space we need to deliver the kind of work we can be proud of.
Whatever the reason: It means we take shortcuts and seek quick results at any cost—even if it means offending or irritating our customers. (Not thin enough? Who cares! It's good enough! Next!)
The most effective marketing is about consistency and generosity and context, with empathy for the customer and the experience you're giving them.
It takes skill to create, nurture, and let that take root. But it also requires mindset.
Brand-new research from MarketingProfs finds that almost half of marketers—43% of us!—say that our day is always or frequently based on what we find in our inbox each morning. (More on that research, below.)
So we might show up at the office intending to produce our best work. And then almost half of us open our inboxes... and our day is shredded.
When our day is ruled by our inboxes, we stay in reactive mode.
And, over time, that means we show up with less intention. Less enthusiasm. We start to burn out.
Some days it really does feel like you're a cog in the machine. When all we do all day is check boxes and fulfill requests made by other people, and adhere to schedules set by other people.
Like the guy behind the deli counter.
Except instead of fulfilling orders for cheese blintzes and smoked ham and those really good olives that they have only in the deli case... we fulfill orders for emails and blog posts and could you just give this program a little social promotion...?
I don't yet have all the answers to solving Marketing's Deli Problem. But you can see some of my thoughts on it here.
It's my talk from a few weeks ago at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum.
That post encapsulates a few of the things I've been consumed with lately: How there's never been a more obvious time for marketers to step up and take control of our own... I want to use the word destiny.
.. but nah that sounds overly dramatic.
Maybe this: It's never been more critical for us all to commit to changing the culture of Marketing—far away from the order-taking deli system.
* * *
New Trend: Brave New Word
Dictionary-dot-com crowns misinformation 2018's "Word of the Year," its Pageant for Words. 👑
There are a few reasons why that's noteworthy.
☝️ Dictionary took the opportunity to educate us on two words that are often used interchangeably (but shouldn't be): misinformation and disinformation.
When people share misinformation, they believe the information they are sharing. But disinformation is crafted and spread with the intent to mislead others. (I remember it like this: Disinformation has Dark motives.)
✌️ Dictionary is tapping into a 2019 zeitgeist: the trend of companies' actively trying to make the world a better place that also maps to what they sell or do.
We've seen this approach from do-good brands like Patagonia for a long time. Now more and more companies are thinking more broadly about their role in the world.
Even something as benign as an online dictionary? Yep, because words matter: "The rampant spread of misinformation poses new challenges for navigating life in 2018. As a dictionary, we believe understanding the concept is vital to identifying misinformation in the wild, and ultimately curbing its impact." Whole story here
New Research: Clap Along
It might seem crazy what I'm 'bout to say... but are you happy? At MarketingProfs, we wanted to find out what makes marketers happy and fulfilled at work (and, by extension, in life). Lots of eye-openers in our 2019 Marketer Happiness Study:
- Fewer than 1 in 3 of us can focus on one task for very long.
- Only half of us feel fulfilled by our work. (32% are "meh.")
- 71% of us don't set aside time each day to be technology-free.
- Most of don't spend enough time exercising, being with friends, or pursuing hobbies. ("What's a hobby?" one respondent asked.)
Back in Black
Every other brand can take a black seat (!) to the New York Public Library, because it slayed at Black Friday this year. The library ran a spoof print ad promoting the library's "100% off" book sale, "for an unlimited time only," complete with an old-school clippable "coupon."
The Drum got the backstory. The campaign is notable for a few reasons:
📚 The idea came not from an external agency, but from NYPL's Angela Montefinise, its senior director of public relations. The campaign was developed entirely in-house, by members of marketing, PR, creative services, digital engagement, and digital media. Takeaway: You know your brand better than anyone.
📚 NYPL had tested the idea on social media last year, and found enough support internally to go bigger, braver, bolder this year. Takeaway: Start small. But start something.
stole borrowed from retail. For the idea to fly, the newspaper ad had to look and feel exactly like a generic shopping ad. Takeaway: What's commonplace in one industry feels novel (!) in another.
📚 NYPL takes its message to surprising places (its Instagram is killer), rather than making it rethink its strategy altogether. Takeaway: Show up consistently in unexpected places.
The Hustle writer and editor Lindsey Quinn shares 3 things you must do before you type a single word. "If you don't know these 3 things, you may as well be rolling your face on your keyboard."
In the name of research, I just rolled my face on the keyboard. This is what my dumb face wrote: 6hy78xdfuiouytgr23 tvbynlop0; nybv
🎅🏾 SANTA! I KNOW HIM!
is a digital marketing consultant and year-round Santa Claus. Santa Ed is at the top of the Santa trade—by way of genes, girth, and a round little belly (that shakes when he laughs, like a bowl full of jelly). Ed is one of an elite cabal of mall Santas, making up to $20,000 every Christmas season.
His colleague, Santa Rick (a practicing Orthodox Jew!), notes:
There's two kinds of Santas: There are professional Santas and there are guys in red suits. And the difference for me is there are those who want to better themselves and learn and master the trade, and there are the others.
This is exactly like marketing, writing, public speaking, or any industry where you're never quite "done" learning. Don't ever be the Guy in the Red Suit. See inside the suit
NEW (Or New to You?) CONTENT TOOLS
✅ Count Wordsworth
help you polish your prose. I like how it measures things other writing tools don't, like pronouns, similes, clichés, most-used words and a bunch of other things.
DEPARTMENT OF SHENANIGANS