By Pamela Muldoon published April 9, 2015

Did You Hear About the Acupuncturist/Comedian Turned Marketer?


The Pivot allows host Todd Wheatland to dive into the guests’ marketing backstory. How did they end up where they are today?

In this episode, The Carter Group CEO Brian Carter shares how he went from running an acupuncture practice to launching a top-notch digital marketing agency, where he works with some of the biggest brands in the world and has become a best-selling author and international speaker.  

Listen to Todd’s full interview with Brian Carter here:
(On the USS Midway, Social Media Marketing World, March 2015, San Diego, CA)

Download this week’s The Pivot episode.

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What may surprise you

  • Brian grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and attended Miami University in nearby Oxford.
  • As a child, Brian was bullied and had a hard time relating to other kids. He later joined Toastmasters to learn to speak and communicate better.
  • Brian also tried stand-up comedy to learn how to create and communicate something that both the audience and he would enjoy.
  • Brian moved to San Diego to train as an acupuncturist and started his own practice.

Brian’s pivot

After college, Brian attended school in San Diego to become an acupuncturist. Though he enjoyed the art of healing others through acupuncture, the constant need to justify and explain this holistic form of medicine – even to those who had successful breakthroughs from it – became too much.

In 1999, he launched a website, The Pulse of Oriental Medicine, where he wrote articles and distributed an email newsletter on holistic medicines and practices. He even wrote a book, Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: Healing Yourself With Focus, Herbs, and Acupressure, to explain what he wanted his clients to know. He used AdSense (a Google program that allows sites to host targeted pay-per-click ads) on his website. When he started to make some real money from this website, he began to realize that online marketing was pretty cool. He went on to educate himself about Google AdWords and got his first digital-marketing client – an alternative medicine product provider. Eventually, he left his acupuncture practice and launched The Carter Group.

Improv approach to content marketing

Brian’s attempt at stand-up comedy taught him how to make a better connection with an audience – a good lesson for all content marketers. Brian encourages you to consider improv as a valuable communication technique.

You need to understand your audience to get a response. In comedy, you want a laugh. In content, you want an action related to your marketing.

You care about the response, right? I wanna get my clients sales, leads, and I want to get ’em good results. I want their money to turn into something. With comedy, you want what you’re saying to turn into a laugh. You want a very visible, obvious response that you know you did the right thing.

For a full list of The Pivot archives, go to the main The Pivot: Marketing Backstories page.

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Subscribe_via_Stitcher Cover image courtesy of Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Pamela Muldoon

Pamela Muldoon is the Podcast Network Director for the CMI Podcast Network. In her role with CMI, she assists the podcast hosts with the development, production, distribution and promotion of their shows. Pamela is a veteran podcaster who can be heard on the CMI Podcast Network with her latest show "Content Marketing NEXT". To date, she has interviewed over 200 business and marketing professionals as part of her podcast formats. She is also a professional VoiceOver talent specializing in commercial, narration, eLearning, and promo projects. Learn more at or Follow her on Twitter @pamelamuldoon.

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