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My cherished blog-reading friends,

Every week for the past 12 years I have written freely, openly, and passionately for you. With pride, I can say that I’ve never missed blogging for you over the last 650 consecutive weeks — even through illness, life trauma, and extended overseas trips. For many of you, my blog has earned a tiny place in your life and I am forever grateful for that.

A little piece of me is proud of “the streak,” but ending it is an easy decision because I can set a better example as a leader by taking a break. Did you know how many weeks in a row I had blogged? That’s what I thought. …


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Every year I summarize my writing of the year and pluck out the best blog posts out of the dozens I created for the year.

In the 12-year history of this blog, 2020 marked a massive shift in the content direction … is there anything that DIDN’T SHIFT this year? : )

When the pandemic hit, the marketing-related content I had planned seemed out of sync so I began to write about strategies to fight the other side of this pandemic. …


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Clubhouse appears to be the next hot social media platform.

Backed by the prestigious venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and growing faster than Mark Zuckerberg’s bank account, Clubhouse is a platform where users participate in different chat rooms on a wide range of topics. The conversations are audio-only, and when they finish, they disappear forever. It’s like talk radio on steroids — endless, diverse, inclusive. Wading through Clubhouse can be dizzying because there are so many interesting conversations.

Clubhouse is halfway between a podcast and a party. It’s a facilitated discussion, no make-up required. This is why it will displace at least some podcast consumption — you have a chance to actually participate with the hosts, and that’s special. …


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Facebook is monopolistic and scary but this scene from Guam makes me forget about it.

The big news last week was that a long-awaited antitrust lawsuit was filed against Facebook. While this is no surprise, my opinion about it might be. You and I collectively created this monster because we like it this way. Read on.

Guam for the win

After an 18-month investigation, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and 46 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Guam, filed a lawsuit alleging that Facebook employed anti-competitive tactics that allowed it to bully and bury rivals. The filing recommends breaking up the company.

I think this is especially significant for Guam. So happy you guys are in the news. Also, I wonder which four states did not participate? I’m guessing one of them is Nevada. …


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Traditionally, this is the time I would write a post projecting how I see marketing evolving in the coming year. In this period of obviously weird disruption, I’ve decided to write a weird and disruptive post. Instead of the list of trends you might expect, I’ll tell you a short (and true) story demonstrating why 2021 will be the most important year in the history of marketing.

Here we go:

Last week I visited a friend who showed me an Instagram video of her young nephew blowing out candles on a Barney birthday cake. “I freaked out!” she said. “In this day and age, how can anybody be blowing all over a cake? …


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We’ve now completed ROUND ONE of the Era of Online Conferences as we adopt new strategies to help live events survive through Zoom.

I’ve been honored to be the keynote speaker at many online conferences over the past nine months and attended a few as a participant.

By now we should be adjusting to these times of crisis but unfortunately, I see too many organizers trying to recreate a traditional conference in a Zoom-like format.

One friend attended a leading marketing event that moved to a digital format and said “It was miserable. …


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Last week I was honored to participate in The Global Peter Drucker Forum, a prestigious annual gathering of business thought leaders in Vienna. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it was obviously not in Vienna and was a typical Zoom-style gathering! While I missed the elegance of Austria, I did enjoy soaking up some new insights!

The content was superb, and something struck me in a presentation called “The Path to Humanocracy.” This session featured awe-inspiring case studies of companies on the forefront of “being more human” through strong corporate values — and of course I was glowing over that!

But this discussion also led to an insight about a pressing leadership issue: — connecting to customers through values-based marketing in periods of social upheaval. …


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I’ve taught at Rutgers University for nearly 12 years and I’ve received some form of this question in most of them: “I’ve learned a lot, and I know we need to modernize our marketing, but how do I convince my boss?”

Most of my students in these university classes are mid- to senior-level marketing professionals and are frustrated about being locked in an outdated business mindset. They want to move ahead to a process that is more human-centric, rather than advertising/broadcast-oriented, but how do you move an organization along with you?

Here’s the good news. I know how to do it and I’ll tell you today. …


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A while ago, I had an encouraging email from a woman that represented a small but extraordinary marketing victory. It’s worth considering today as a marketing lesson in consumer habits.

Her message to me:

“Mark, I start my day with you. I get a cup of coffee, open my laptop, and see what you sent me that day.”

This is a remarkable statement because it shows that I have become a habit, part of the fabric of her daily life.

Becoming a habit is really the Holy Grail of marketing (here is a very useful treatise on the subject).

The idea of building and reinforcing new consumer habits is an extremely complicated subject and I don’t want to minimize that, but I do think content can play a role in the process. A new habit begins with a trigger and is reinforced through repetition. That’s an important lesson for content marketers regarding quality and quantity. …


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Vulnerability is a hot topic these days. I’m seeing this connection between vulnerability and leadership in all types of business literature and posts.

So it’s not surprising that in conversations about creating a more human brand, vulnerability is often a primary topic of discussion. The other day, a person I was helping on a coaching call mentioned that he appreciated how vulnerable and empathetic I seemed.

You may be surprised that vulnerability was definitely a learned trait for me. I am not an open person by nature, let alone a vulnerable one. I thought this might be an interesting subject to cover since I believe that some measure of vulnerability is essential in business and leadership today, especially in this prolonged period of pandemic suffering and crisis. …

About

Mark Schaefer

Chieftain of the blog {grow}, strategy consultant, educator, podcaster, author of Return On Influence, The Content Code, and The Tao of Twitter.

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