Big Changes In Snarketingville

This week marks the 8th anniversary of the first blog post I ever wrote. It was titled CYA (Count Your Assets) and had something to do with the need for marketing departments to identify and quantify their assets–sales, information, and infrastructure assets–in order to demonstrate marketing’s contributions, analyze spending patterns, and evaluate marketing’s efficiency. The post has received about 40 hits in eight years–including one this year. Woot!

It’s likely that few of you know the history of Snarketing 2.0 (as the 2nd subscriber, @dmgerbino does). It’s also likely that even fewer of you care to know, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

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Back in December 2006, when I started blogging, the blog was called Marketing ROI, because I thought people would search on that term and find my blog. Yes, I was a clueless idiot.

After a couple of years, I renamed the blog the Marketing Tea Party, trying to evoke both the Boston tea party and the Alice in Wonderland tea party. My timing couldn’t have been worse, coming just months before “tea party” became a household once again in the US. Yes, this was a dumb ass move.

After a while, it dawned on me that I might be losing readers turned off by the political connotations (despite the lack of connection). “Screw them!” (the people who wouldn’t read my blog, not the tea partiers) was my prevailing thought, but not a good marketing decision. So, in December 2011, I renamed the site Snarketing 2.0. Not that there was ever a 1.0, but nobody wants to read anything with 1.0 in its title. Finally did something right with the blog.

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Blogging life has been good here at Snarketing 2.0. Named #1 blog for financial services marketers by The Financial Brand in 2013. Listed as one of the 25 best marketing blogs by Radius in 2014. Good stuff. Very proud of that.

Come the new year, however, there will be some big changes here in Snarketingville. Starting January 5, 2015, Snarketing 2.0 will become a column on The Financial Brand. Snarketing 2.0 will no longer be a standalone blog.

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At this point, you might have one or more questions like:

  • Who cares what you do with Snarketing 2.0?
  • Why would you fold your blog into The Financial Brand? and
  • What should I have for lunch?

I don’t know the answer to the last question. Or the 1st one for that matter. I’m not sure even my mother cares. Actually, I don’t think she knows that I have a blog.

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As for the 2nd question, I might have some answers. What Jeffry Pilcher has done with The Financial Brand in the past few years is nothing short of incredible. It isn’t just the premier publication for financial services marketers, it’s becoming the premier publication for financial services. Period.

Incorporating my blog into The Financial Brand is an attempt to get in front of a wider audience, especially at a time when I have a book coming out, and am looking to increase the number of speaking engagements that I do.

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I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some reservations. I get to do what I want with this blog–for better and worse. I’ve got complete control over how this blog looks. Which, of course, is why moving my blog into Financial Brand is a good move, because as you can clearly see, I am clueless when it comes to site design.

And I have to admit to fears of being lost in the sauce at The Financial Brand. On this blog, I’m the big fish in the pond. Actually, I’m the only fish. It’s my pond. At The Financial Brand, I’m just another fish in the pond. I’ll be a piranha, however, so those other fish better look out.

As for editorial control or influence, I’m giving up nothing. In the discussions about the move, I recall The Financial Brand asking me to not bad-mouth the advertisers. I said “OK, as long as they don’t do or say anything stupid.” I think the response was “That seems fair.”

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If you subscribe to this blog, thank you. I’m not sure yet how it will work, if you’ll still get notifications or the posts through email, if that’s how you get them today. I’m working with The Financial Brand to figure out how to make this as seamless as possible.

Thanks for reading. See you (soon) at The Financial Brand.

Two Ways Millennials Can Fail Miserably At Work

Maybe you can fill me in on something: Can anybody off the street write a blog post and get it published on the Forbes site? Is there no editorial control on that site? Is there anybody at Forbes concerned with the quality of stuff that gets posted there?

[These are rhetorical questions. I don’t really care about it that much to get answers. Was just trying to open this post in a provocative way]

A recent post, titled Three Ways Millennials Can Succeed At Work, triggered my questions. Two of the three pieces of advice are stupid things for anybody new to the workforce to do. The so-called expert interviewed by the so-called blogger recommended that Millennials:

1. Become “Intrapreneurs.” According to the article, millennials should become “consultants within their company” or “intrapreneurs.” Even those that, as the article puts it, work for a “corporation.” The so-called expert is quoted as saying “the goal is to be somebody who sees opportunities where others don’t, and expand your job. You can do research, make a presentation, and say, ‘here’s the opportunity and how we can take advantage of it.’ “

My take: Speaking on behalf of the gazillion of Boomers and Gen Xers working in “corporations,” I can assure you that the last thing that will make some Millennial — with all of his or her FIVE minutes worth of work experience — successful is walking around acting like an internal “consultant” or “intrapreneur.”

I wouldn’t dispute for a moment that in any given company (or corporation), there are a trillion things that need to be fixed, or opportunities that are out there. But understanding WHY certain opportunities aren’t, or haven’t been, pursued is a perspective lacking in many inexperienced people.

This isn’t to say Millennials don’t, or couldn’t, have great ideas for how to change the way things are done. But, like it or not, there may be reasons why things are done the way they’re done. One reason is that the boss likes it done that way. There’s a comfort level in knowing that the output that is produced from doing something the way its been done for the past 10 years will be of the same high quality that’s been produced for the past 10 years.

2. Build Your Brand. The so-called expert, who, according to the article, made his name by persuading EMC to make him its first social media hire, urges others to take a similar tack. “Starting out, maybe you’re one of 1000 marketing specialists in a big company. But if you take on a big project, you’re one of one. People will view it as risky, but it’s risky not to take risks in your career.”

My take: Gag me. This is the root of the problem with Millennials’ image and reputation: That they’re more concerned with their “personal brand” than adding value and producing results for the company that pays their salary.

Personal “branding” (as a verb) shouldn’t be part of any Millennial’s vocabulary (hell, I’d go as far as saying it shouldn’t be part of anybody’s vocabulary). Creating a personal brand isn’t a goal. It’s an outcome. Add value, earn a positive personal brand.

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In fairness, the Forbes article recommended three things that Millennials could do to succeed. The one recommendation that I didn’t blast is a good point: Hone Your Soft Skills. In a study conducted with American Express, the so-called expert found that “the top thing managers want [in their employees] is the ability to prioritize, a positive attitude, and teamwork – and what connects those things is soft skills.”

My take: Totally agree.  Sadly, the Forbes article doesn’t talk about what these soft skills are, or exactly how to develop them.  Because nobody needs that advice more than me.

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Although I’m wholly unqualified to give anybody advice on how to succeed at work, it seems to me that if I’m going to debunk the recommendations in the Forbes article, I should be constructive and offer ideas for what Millennials should do. Here are my two recommendations for how Millennials can succeed at work:

1. Add value. Millennials should be obsessed with this one mantra: “How can I add value?” In other words, how do I: 1) make my company more successful; 2) make my boss more successful; and 3) make my colleagues successful. And that’s not in any particular order.

Two points to keep in mind:

a) There will always be political issues that make making your boss/colleagues more successful a tricky proposition. Your boss and/or colleagues may be jerks, taking credit for your work and screwing you over. Granted. But that shouldn’t stop you from obsessing over the goal to add value.

b) This advice doesn’t just apply to Millennials. The number of people in companies who don’t add value — to their companies, their bosses, or their colleagues. Add value, earn a positive personal brand.

2. GSD. GSD is an acronym that means Get Sh*t Done. The number of people in companies who don’t get sh*t done (in other words, who do diddly-squat) is higher than anyone could possibly count. If you’re a Millennial who wants to succeed and stand out, then GSD. Getting your own sh*t done is a great place to start. But if you’re able to get (motivate, incent) other people to GSD, you will move up the org chart very fast.