seth godin

Four Steps To Becoming a Marketing Rockstar


Recently, one of our Young Rebels asked for my recommendations for classes she could take to learn more about marketing.

First of all, props to you, Andrea, for your curiosity and for taking the initiative to ask. Those will serve you well at Rebel and in life. Big up yourself!

Any guesses about my response to her? Well, you might guess that my answer was probably a little more complex than she had hoped.

First, I cautioned that traditional marketing education probably wasn't the best use of her time and money. She expected that from me. I did mention a couple of my friends who teach at UCLA Extension.

But mostly I recommended that she turn the world into her classroom:

Find people at similar stages in their careers and build her network of friends that she can compare notes with, trade ideas and create a support system. In my opinion, this is the most important thing someone can do to build a successful career in any industry.

After that, read the trades. They're far from great, but they at least provide a baseline of knowledge about what's happening in our business and they key players she should be watching.

Next, study our our work for clients. What challenges do they face, and what solutions do we recommend? What works and what doesn't? She can look beyond the projects she's directly involved with and gain a broader understanding of the landscape real-time. She'll find a lot more detail and context in our activities than she can get from reading third-party case studies, which tend to be overly optimistic and gloss over all of the pitfalls that plague marketers and agencies.

Last, read lots of books that offer new ideas and perspectives. Don't accept everything you read, but constantly challenge your own beliefs and conventional wisdom. To get a little help with this, I went to my Facebook friends and asked for recommendations for her. The best suggestions:

Permission Marketing, Seth Godin Grow, Jim Stengel Simplicity Marketing, Steven Cristol Guerrilla Marketing, J. Conrad Levinson The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell Positioning, Al Ries and Jack Trout Good to Great, Jim Collins

To start, I gave Andrea a copy of Permission Marketing, because I think it sets the stage to the unique approach we take at Rebel. We are by no means permission marketers in exactly the way that Seth intended, but his theories have guided a lot of what we do, and the book signaled a fundamental shift away from the status quo, which has proven over and over not to work. I think that's the right mindset to get her started.

What other books, classes, or ideas would you recommend to help a young marketer, or an old one, continue down the right path? Leave your answers in the comments.

We Do Weird Marketing

In this interview with Seth Godin, in promotion of his 300th book We Are All Weird, Seth does a great job of explaining why Rebel Industries exists (thanks, Seth!).

Weird means people who are embracing individuality instead of working hard to fit in.

He goes on to say that the world is splitting into two groups: one that wants everyone to stay the same, and another that encourages individuality, tribal behavior, and weirdness.

Clearly, the tides of change favor the latter group, and this is the group that Rebel serves. We market to the gamers, music fiends, tuners, foodies, art enthusiasts, social media mavens, and others who define themselves by the things that make them "weird." We understand what makes these people special, and what makes them tick. And we know what it means to brands who make products and deliver experiences that these people want.

What about you? What makes you weird? What tribes do you belong to? And what brands are doing a good job of appealing to your weirdness?

Pepsi Refresh Just Needs a Refresh



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Back by popular demand, more rantings about why you should be thinking long-term about your marketing strategies.

The Pepsi Refresh Project is catching a lot of criticism, mainly because nobody thinks the marketing mix actually worked. They may be right someday, but it’s not nearly the time to start making that decision yet. As I told MediaPost, "Whether it worked or not is not even that important. The most interesting thing about this program is that Pepsi is doing it.”

Marketers need to go back and read Seth Godin’s The Dip. Success is a result of perseverance, of breaking through the clutter by refusing to give up on a good idea.

Overnight success simply does not occur often enough for it to be worth any energy at all. If you get lucky and become a hit immediately, good for you, but you better not count on it. Even if you are an instant wonder, it will only be natural for you to try and broaden your perspective. You’ll start to think about how to parlay your success into something bigger. Most lottery winners are no happier a year later than they were before they won.

If Pepsi gives up now, then the campaign will have truly failed. The millions of advertising dollars down the drain is not the issue. Pepsi probably loses more to shrinkage.

The real failure would be letting down all of the people who did participate, who invested attention and emotional energy into connecting with Pepsi around causes they truly care about. Pepsi needs to continue investing into this affiliate marketing initiative and build their momentum. The long-term marketing payoff will come down the road as Pepsi’s brand continues to put its money where its mouth is. You know, by actually giving a damn about people and their communities.

Who cares whether it sells any soda this year.