Go-to resources to modernize your marketing mindset


By Mark Schaefer

I have this little offering on my site where anybody can sign up for an hour of my time. It’s become a fun way to stay in touch with the business needs of small businesses, entrepreneurs and folks seeking a little help building their personal brand.

Through dozens of conversations, I am beginning to see a common theme emerge with these business professionals. Their marketing mindset is frozen in time.

The shifts have been fast and continuous

What do I mean … marketing mindset “frozen in time?”

The world is changing so fast but people aren’t changing with it. Most marketing people I know are utilizing a framework that might have worked two or three years from now, but simply is not as effective today.

Perhaps we have seen as much marketing industry change in the last two years as the last 20.

  • The meteoric rise of social media marketing and the precipitous decline of organic reach.
  • The move toward digital ads and a consumer counter-measures to block them.
  • The useful notion that we could attract customers through our content, only to learn that is easier said than done when everybody with a smartphone is a publisher.
  • A continuing slide in traditional ad methods  as people stream all sorts of content in new ad-free subscription channels.
  • A generation moving away from public social media toward private messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp.
  • A power shift from the gilded offices of Madison Avenue ad agencies to young influencers in ripped jeans.

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Let the thaw begin

For whatever reason, most (and I do mean most) marketers seem oblivious to these changes and continue to produce content for the sake of content, blissfully pump out posts for Facebook that no one will ever see, and waste money on SEO practices that have not worked in five years..

It’s frustrating because there is just so much … ineffectiveness out there.

And the rate of change is increasing. We are on the cusp of amazing breakthroughs that will be driven by AI, private messaging development, and virtual reality, to name a few mega-trends.

So what should you do about it?

Start by asking yourself three questions:

  1. Have my marketing strategy and tactics changed dramatically over the past three years?
  2. Can I name the biggest technological trend that will disrupt my marketing plan in the next 24 months?
  3. Am I continuously learning about the changes to our key marketing platforms and constantly adjusting tactics to optimize new opportunities?

If you answered “no” to any of these, please consider a reboot to your marketing perspective.

A modern marketing mindset

Here are some great  resources to help you reframe your perspective and bring your marketing into the modern age:

Daily idea prompts.

To learn little tactical tricks that work right now, there is no better source than Social Media Examiner. The editorial team does an exceptional job keeping pace with small tweaks and tools that you can use right now. The focus is very much social media and there is nothing long-term in their perspective, but if you subscribe to their content, you’ll find gems each week.

Another part of my daily content diet is the AdAge digital newsletter. I’m so busy I don’t get to consumer a lot of popular culture and AdAge keeps me up on trends with the ad business, influencer marketing, and other vital changes in the agency world.

Finally, I never miss a daily update from Brandchannel. This is the best source to get nuggets of excellence representing current marketing best practices and trends.

A weekly jolt. All the developments in the digital world can be found in one insanely interesting newsletter called The Full Monty. Consultant Scott Monty and his team cobble together the most important breaking news and trends. Each week you’ll probably discover a few link-induced rabbit holes to tumble down. Essential reading.

A career re-set. If you’re feeling left behind, overwhelmed, and increasingly irrelevant, here is the prescription for revival: The Rutgers University Digital Marketing “Mini MBA.”

Rutgers offers the world’s best immersion programs in digital marketing, social media, and content, with both classroom and online options.

You’ll be connected to cutting edge thinking from some of the world’s leading experts in social media, content, mobile, analytics, advertising, and more. These are not out-of-touch professors or people trying to sell you a content marketing program. You learn from industry experts who share everything in a friendly and warm environment. I have taught in this program for eight years and I have seen first-hand how careers have been transformed by these inspirational instructors.

Note: I am NOT teaching in the June 2018 classroom session but should be there for all other programs. You can take advantage of a 10% discount by using the code “grow” when you apply.

A peek into your future. To gain a perspective on the biggest and boldest digital trends on the planet, I recommend subscribing to The Exponential View, a free weekly newsletter curated by the brilliant Azeem Azhar. When this newsletter arrives in my inbox it’s like a hypnotic drug transporting me into the future. It’s fun, addictive and a must-read to stay on top of the next waves.

Department of NEXT. One of my favorite social media personalities is futurist Ross Dawson. I don’t know how he does it, but Ross shares the most interesting insights from dozens of professional journals and news sources. By following Ross, I can remain conversational on almost any digital development because I probably just saw something from him on the trend.

There are other newsletters I subscribe to for inspiration about design, data, journalism, advertising and more but these five resources represent a broad, strong toolset for rapid new relevance. My favorite conference for trend-setting inspiration is SXSW (see you there?). My favorite podcast is Six Pixels of Separation hosted by Mitch Joel.

I also hope you’ll stay with me here on the {grow} blog, Marketing Companion podcast and Luminaries podcast on digital transformation. Determining how all these magnificent trends come together is what I love to do most, and I’ll give you an unvarnished, hype-free take on the trends that are changing your career.

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world.  Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Disclosures: I am an employee of Rutgers University. I am paid by Dell Technologies to host the Luminaries podcast. I have also done consulting work and workshops with Dell for many years. I have received a small amount of compensation from Social Media Examiner over the years but nothing to write home about. I think Scott Monty might have bought me a coffee one time but I could be wrong about that. He’s kind of cheap that way. 

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