Playing it Safe

SUCKS.

A Call for Marketing Courage

It’s too easy for marketing to plod along cautiously, to be a passenger on the corporate bus. And that’s a damn shame, because the purpose of marketing is to drive the bus, to make the brand stand out from the pack. 

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We believe this deeply, and want to help you get there. So we’ve created this toolkit to help you make your mark. Scroll this page to learn why it matters, how others have done it, and how you can boost your Courage Quotient.

Your job is not job preservation • Don’t blend in • Confront your fear • Be courageous, not reckless • The obstacle is the way • Leap … with a plan • Be bold • Your job is not job preservation • Don’t blend in • Confront your fear • Be courageous, not reckless • The obstacle is the way • Leap … with a plan • Be bold • Your job is not job preservation • Don’t blend in • Confront your fear • Be courageous, not reckless • The obstacle is the way • Leap … with a plan • Be bold • Your job is not job preservation • Don’t blend in • Confront your fear • Be courageous, not reckless • The obstacle is the way • Leap … with a plan • Be bold •

About this framework:

For marketers to do their jobs as they’re meant to be done requires courage.

Courage to come up with Big Ideas. Courage to defend those Big Ideas from naysayers and skeptics. Courage to launch those Big Ideas into a cynical, attention-starved marketplace.

We see it every day. Hell, we feel it too. The fear of possibly screwing up, wasting marketing budget and then paying the price for it. Well, we’ve had enough. It’s time to embrace courageous marketing.

Even we’re willing to admit—we haven’t always been courageous in our own marketing. Here’s how we could have done things differently (and better!) with our “SEO Delusion,” according to the four pillars of Courageous Marketing: Knowledge, Confidence, Action and Evolution.

If you haven’t started marketing with video in 2022, you’re standing still. Video is the number one format content marketers use to engage with their audience. More specifically, short-form video (think 30 seconds or less) has risen to the top of the marketing mix with the emergence of TikTok and its competitors, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.

Don’t Obsess About the Competition

Don’t Obsess About the Competition

Remember when your mom said, “Well, if Jimmy jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you too?” Mom’s message was spot on for marketers, too. Don’t do what other businesses are doing; do your own thing.

Remember when your mom said, “Well, if Jimmy jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you too?” Mom’s message was spot on for marketers, too. Don’t do what other businesses are doing; do your own thing.

Good marketers are hardwired to please people. Whether that’s your agency client, your customer, your boss, or some other stakeholder in the marketing mix, it’s natural to want to say “yes” as frequently as possible. It makes sense, since saying yes leads to opportunities for success—both personally and for the organization you’re supporting.

It’s not easy to be the “Bold Marketer” or a “Courageous Marketer.” It’s safer to do things that have been done, to prove things that have been proven. After all, there’s a lot on the line–revenue, opportunity, reputation … not to mention your own job.

We should always be polite to our colleagues. But that doesn’t mean we should always agree with them. In fact, the best thing we can do for co-workers—and the companies we work for—is to disagree in order to build something better. 

Change is hard. Change at large organizations is even harder. But if you have confidence in a new way to do things, you’ll fight for the idea. This is the story of how Michael Brenner used data to fortify his belief in a new way and change the way SAP marketed itself.

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