Stop Marketing, Start Being Awesome: Two Experts Speak

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If you want to market in today’s environment, you’ve got to change the way you view marketing. You need to approach that, as Charlie Sheen might say, as if you were a rock star from Mars. So wise, Charlie Sheen.

Marketing is no longer about pushing out a sales message, according to a @BtoB webinar I got to watch Thursday afternoon. Two experts in the worlds of marketing outlined how to go above and beyond tradition and, well, start being awesome. Totally.

Lights, Camera…Marketing!

Yvonne Anderson, the senior marketing manager with NCM Fathom, centered her presentation around the similarities between being in marketing and being a film director. Aside from marketing being far more glamorous, there are quite a few similarities.

Like the director, a good marketer has to see the whole picture coming together and mold it, turning a company philosophy and clients into a coherent vision to drive revenue to a company. As I’ve repeatedly emphasized at our Biz Engine blog, you can’t do that by annoying the crap out of the people you’re trying to serve.

“As you can tell, we have to make this exciting, and we have to make this engaging,” Anderson said.

When it comes to the length of the campaign, think epic. You’ve got a real chance to build a relationship with your customers that endures throughout economic downturns and boom times, so cultivate it.

“Our stories don’t end just after Chapter 1,” Anderson said. “We can actually keep the dialogue going.”

Finally, she noted, no director makes a film alone. Rely on your fellow employees, hit up your bosses and don’t be afraid to open the floodgates both inside and outside your company to get at content. You can’t produce a blockbuster, Anderson said, without that kind of input.

Ten Tips For Marketing

Joe Pulizzi, known as a content marketing evangelist, is preaching simplicity. His role in last week’s webinar was as the guru heading up to the mountaintop and bringing down ten excellent tips, all aimed at producing engaging content. If you can stand the list, I’ll run them down here:

  1. Produce niche content. You want to spread your wings a little, but not so much so that your financial services blog becomes a place where you’re ruminating every day about the meaning of life and great quiche recipes. Hit your target audience.
  2. Content can’t be about you. Seek to entertain or become an expert in your field, but don’t champion yourself.
  3. Good enough isn’t good enough. You’re competing against the entire world in getting your content out, not just your closest competitor. Make sure you bring your A game.
  4. Content shifting. Keep it fresh and lively.
  5. Maintain a content calendar. Even if it’s as general as “posting twice a week,” it’s helpful to have something keeping you on track and on schedule.
  6. Leverage your employees. This goes back to Anderson’s advice. Involve the rest of your company in producing content.
  7. Nobody’s going to magically engage in your content. Get it out there. Visit other popular websites and find out what they’re doing right. Leverage Twitter and Facebook.
  8. Consider outsourcing. If you don’t have the time, energy and passion to make it happen, bring in someone who will. A listless blog is no blog at all.
  9. Take ownership. Let the world know you stand by your content and that you’re proud of it. Make sure people know where your content is coming from.
  10. Bring in outside content. Whether that be links or freelance writers, do it, but make sure you have executive level buy-in. You need the backing of the entire company.

Let us know if this post is helpful to your business in the comments.


Photo credit to arinas74 at


  1. How does one effectively do the number 2 point, namely becoming or demonstrating your expertise in your field, without championing yourself? Please elaborate.

  2. Happy to, Larry.

    It’s a tough balance to strike. If you’re in the world of finance, you want to be able to link articles and put out your own content that is of interest to customers in that field. That inevitably involves bringing in your own expertise, particularly if you’re trying to break down an article that you think would be valuable for readers. What online marketers are increasingly coming to believe is that you can do so without resorting to something that resembles a press release.

    For example, you might say “In our experience, X…” instead of “You can find our company’s solutions to this problem at our site, which is linked here, and here’s why we’re good at it.” Ultimately, it’s avoiding an overt sales pitch. It’s inevitable you’ll talk about yourself—why else would you have a blog?—but you can do so in a conversational way that doesn’t immediately turn people away. Again, it’s a balancing act.

    I hope that’s helpful. Glad to continue the conversation if you have more questions or feedback.

  3. Bob, that’s very true. The trick is being able to build your online presence up to the point where your customers can reach a wide audience. Once you get that going, the voice of a satisfied customer is, as you said, a very powerful voice indeed.

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