Amid the constant hum of everyday work, it pays to sit back and appreciate the broader impact of one’s vocation and how it relates to one’s life in general. I did just that today. For inspiration, I found three marketing-related blogs that take a broader view of business apart from the usual “10 Tips on How to Boost Your Social Media Presence” type posts. I’ll share them with you below.
The first is Seth Godin’s blog. What I like about Seth is his pithy philosophical approach to work. I also admire that he posts an article each day, almost as a discipline. That’s something I’ll try to aim for — divided between my three blogs (personal, academic, and vocational).
The second blog is A Learning A Day. Similarly, Rohan, the writer of the blog, posts once a day, which makes these first two blogs continual sources of inspiration to come back to on a daily basis. He even mentions Seth as a major source of influence in his own life and work. Such thoughtful, dutiful blogs are refreshing (to me, at least) amid the hustle of everyday work and an ever-changing business climate.
Finally, there is a classic: Signal v. Noise. This blog is from the founders of Basecamp, a company from my hometown of Chicago. I was first exposed to their work via their book, REWORK, which triggered an awakening in me about the possibilities of different types of work cultures. I will return to this blog, though they post less often than others.
Today, I finished reading through a guide about email marketing that I found via a tweet from one of my sister’s techie friends. It is a very long guide that is especially useful for SaaS-type companies, but I’ve gleaned some useful tips for my B2B marketing work as well. The post is by SendWithUs.com and is called “How to Send Email Like a Startup: A Guide to Making Every Email Count.”
There are several things I learned (or reinforced in my mind) from this resource. First, it’s important to consider every piece of collateral that a customer comes into contact with from your company. Even such seemingly mundane things as a confirmation email for signing up for an email list have immense marketing potential within them.
Second, the guide talks about the Pirate Metrics model: AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue). In the context of the guide, it’s a useful breakdown for helping to understand how different, non-intrusive transactional emails sent to a customer help reinforce every step of that AARRR funnel.
Third, I picked up valuable ideas for my own marketing practice. One of them is the value of including links to surveys in email campaigns. After all, why not use one’s base of customers to generate feedback about the company and find potential brand champions? I never thought of this opportunity, and I’m glad the guide clued me into it.
Overall, email campaigns are a fascinating part of marketing because when they are done well, they can be a beautiful thing (done poorly, they’re as ugly as spam meat is disgusting). The guide from SendWithUs.com puts it well: “email is a place to test and reinforce who your company is in spirit, content, and design.”
Marketing is difficult to do well. There are whole industries of inspiring marketing tools to fuel the creativity of the professional marketer: social media outlets, project management software, marketing automation utilities, analytics packages, and much more. But what about broader sources of inspiration for marketing as a vocation?
I have found several documentaries on Netflix to be personally inspiring. They are not about marketing per se; rather, they exhibit individuals who are wholly devoted to their craft. The first two feature prominently the Japanese culture of work and how seriously certain craftsmen approach their trade: Jiro Dreams of Sushi and The Birth of Sake.
From these two documentaries I learned the importance of the long-run view of work. Marketing success is rarely something you can capture in the first few years of work. It takes many years to master even a new craft such as digital marketing. Expecting an immediate windfall of prosperity in marketing can lead to disappointment.
A documentary literally closer to home is Crafting a Nation about upstart craft beer brewers in America. From this film, I grew to appreciate the amount of obstacles that lie in the path of most professional endeavors and how much hard work is required to overcome them. This is true of marketing as well. Sometimes it is difficult to appreciate the value of work when many of one’s digital campaigns (especially in the early phases) are underperforming. It’s one thing to say to oneself that marketing is an iterative process, it’s another quality entirely to convince oneself that things will improve in the long run as one perfects a craft.
This brings me to my final question: how does a professional marketer improve their craftsmanship? Well, marketing is both creative and analytical work. To the former end, radio personality Ira Glass (of This American Life fame) describes in this interview the process required. Nothing else is a substitute for hard work and perseverance to bring eventual results in creative projects.
If you’re looking for sources of vocational inspiration, check out the ones I listed above. What others resources have inspired you to keeping your marketing chops sharp?
An opportunity of growth and learning.
Welcome to my new blog! MarketingReport.org, or The Marketing Report Blog, will be about my professional experiences and thoughts about working in marketing. I will share interesting tips and articles that I find along the way, as well as offer my own personal insight into the marketing and business worlds. I’m a young professional currently working in the marketing department of a B2B technology company, so this should be an opportunity of growth and learning that I hope to document here.