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Do You Know Flat-Earth Marketers? [The Weekly Wrap]

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And that’s a wrap of the week ending June 26, 2020

This week I’m wondering if we’re marketing on a flat Earth. I talk with A. Lee Judge about whether marketing is keeping its fair share of budget – and all things video. And I point you to an article I wrote about when to make (and break) content rules.

Listen to (or watch) the Weekly Wrap

Our theme this week is, “What do we know?” As the saying often attributed to Mark Twain goes, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Listen to the episode (time stamps apply to the audio version):

Watch it, too:

One deep thought: Just because I’m wrong doesn’t mean you’re right (3:02)

Have you ever met people who ignore the truth because they feel like they’re right? They know they’re right.

Yeah, me too.

This kind of person believes they’re the lone voice of reason in a sea of insanity. They argue that since X has never been proven with 100% certainty, it could still be wrong. So, based on their personal experience, their view is the right one and they object to or ignore every piece of evidence to the contrary.

The classic example? Those who still argue that the Earth is flat. When presented with pictures of Earth from space, they claim the pictures are digitally manipulated. When presented with earthly observations such as the curvature of the horizon, they argue that you can’t actually see it so it doesn’t exist. “You haven’t been to space,” they say. “You haven’t seen the round Earth, have you?”

I haven’t. But I’m comfortable saying it’s round.

In marketing, I still see a fair amount of flat-Earth marketing. There are people with beliefs about how marketing and communications should be done that go against every best practice and principle. To be clear, these principles are not modern practices that have evolved from old-school thinking.

Flat-Earth marketers believe in strategies that go against every best practice and principle, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Share on X

Like the flat-Earth concept itself, these are practices that have always been wrong but refuse to go away.

Some companies still work campaigns for an end-of-quarter discount. Under pressure to meet quotas, sales teams give better terms to customers who wait until the last minute. Some businesses stubbornly cling to this strategy despite overwhelming evidence that this is a bad long-term strategy. Some studies found that this approach results in a 51% decrease in a sales win rate.

Some B2B executives still refuse to develop thought leadership programs for fear they’re “giving away company secrets.” Some marketing leaders stubbornly cling to the idea that buying email lists should be a core part of their outbound marketing strategy. Some in public relations still cling to AVE (ad value equivalency) to measure the value of media mentions.

And the list goes on.

One of the reasons so many of these flat-Earth marketing practices still exist is because we can’t prove them 100% wrong. No marketing strategy anywhere could be proven 100%. Our conclusions as marketers only make outcomes more probable, never certain.

Flat-Earth marketers aren’t going away. They’ll always have that one anecdote about how buying that email list saved the company or how a competitor once copied a white paper a former CEO wrote and ruined a product launch.

I talk about why you can’t fight this kind of thinking – and what you can do instead.

This week’s person making a difference in content: A. Lee Judge (11:51)

A. Lee Judge, my guest this week, is a wonderful marketing leader and a great content creator.

Lee is the founder of digital content agency Content Monsta, which works with on-the-ground content producers around the world. As an entrepreneur with a background in media production, a career in marketing, and experience in hacking social media from its beginnings, Lee saw the opportunity to bring his marketing, media production, and social media expertise under one effort to build strong brands. And he’s doing just that.

He’s also the host of his own amazing podcast called The Business of Marketing.

We talked about an article in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) about budgets and marketing after COVID-19. We also talked video, video, video.

Here’s a snippet of what Lee had to say :

When the pandemic hit you saw front-line workers in advertising and commercials and content ­– from the mailman to the person in the factory. We suddenly went to them for content to show that … we’re a real company with real people and we want to have a real connection with you. Well surprise, you needed that before the pandemic … That person on the front line … who has more in common with your customer than your executive does should have been the front the whole time. That’s what a connection is.

Companies should have been making public connections to their front-line workers before the pandemic, says @ALeeJudge via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Share on X

Listen in, then learn more about Lee:

One content marketing idea you can use (29:18)

The post on CMI’s site that I’d love for you to take another look at is one I wrote: No One Can Break Your Content Rules If They Don’t Exist.

I started it with this observation: “These days we tend to celebrate the rule breakers. We’re taught that great leaders take risks and disrupt the status quo. They innovate by breaking the established rules with something better. Until, that is, the rule breaker breaks a rule that we like.”

Life without any rules isn’t as great as we imagine it would be. The trick is knowing which rules to break – and when. In the article, I walk you through some research and guidelines for setting content governance rules that ultimately make life easier. I hope you’ll check it out.

The trick is knowing which rules to break and when, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Share on X

Love for our sponsor: Sitecore

As the well-known marketing saying goes, “Content is king.” And with organizations having to rely on their digital channels more than ever these days to reach customers, creating and publishing effective and engaging content has taken on a whole new level of importance.

Sitecore recently held its inaugural Virtual Marketer Day, and one of the tracks was dedicated to helping organizations better manage their content – from beginning to end.

There is a new post-event guide titled “Understanding the end-to-end content lifecycle,” with practical steps you can take to optimize your content engine and personalize digital experiences for your customers.

Download the guide today.

The wrap-up

That’s a wrap on this episode. I hope you’re all truly well and are taking care of each other. I know that’s important even though I can’t prove it. One thing I also know is that I’m grateful you’ve taken time in your day to listen to or watch  this show.

I hope you’re digging it. I’m always striving to improve it. If you have ideas about what you’d like to hear or guests you’d like to hear from, let me know in the comments. And if you love the show, I’d sure love for you to review it or share it. Hashtag us up on Twitter: #WeeklyWrap.

To listen to past shows, go to the main Weekly Wrap page.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute