Issue 72: A Real-Life Social Media Fairytale
From Serial Marketer: "The Cutting Edge of Marketing”

Having spent two days at the Social Media Strategies Summit last week run by GSMI, I’ll share a few things that stood out, but first, it’s time to share a story that’s not directly related to the event.

It involves a castle…

…that isn’t really a castle.

And an island escape.

And an arms dealer – who was a hero who fought for improving the lives of the less fortunate.

And explosions. Multiple. Spanning decades. One that was felt 50 miles away.

I’m not going to give away the whole story, but it’s one you’ll hear when you take a boat ride to Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island in the Hudson River, easily accessible from Manhattan via a train ride out of Grand Central to Beacon (a charming destination in its own right).

During the tour, the guide mentioned how the past five years or so, the spread of social media has worked wonders for the restoration of this unusual and striking landmark which wasn’t too far off from crumbling into the river. A privately funded trust has brought the island and stories back to life.

The small island itself seems to be coming alive. When I visited there last month with my family, I noted to the guide that there seemed to be a lot of butterflies for such an island. She said that was intentional, as they planted milkweed and other species of plants so that it would be a migration stop for monarch butterflies. There are wonders great and small.

Even those of us willingly spending so much of our days on social media can’t avoid the horror stories – how it’s distracting people from their families, destroying kids’ social skills, and leading to mobs of people hurting attractions and themselves as they flock to some photo-friendly hot spot. But there is a lot of good too, and Bannerman is a prime example. The more that visitors spread the word, the more it attracts other paying visitors who wind up contributing to historical preservation, jobs for guides and boat crews, more customers to the cafes and shops in Beacon, and even more butterfly babies as it helps the travelers survive their journey.

Many of the talks at SMSS were also uplifting. Okay, it’s preaching to the choir, but the preachers were not just the parishioners – they’re the practitioners. And practitioning made perfect.

The overarching takeaway from the Social Media Strategy Summit is that social media didn’t need to be part of the strategy at all. The strategy was doing something that would get other people talking while staying true to the brand.

Consider Lyft’s Bette Ann Schlossberg when she was talking about influencer marketing with Obviously’s Mae Karwowski. Schlossberg talked about campaigns involving Earth Day, supporting immigrants and trans drivers, and taking riders to polls on Election Day. While Karwowski did stress some strategic best practices such as focusing on sincerity, authenticity, and building relationships with influencers, the theme from Schlossberg and other speakers – and this is my own interpretation – was to spend 90% of the time working on what would generate interest in the brand and 10% of the time figuring out how to distribute the message.

My own version that I cited in my talk is Philadelphia’s “Bagel That” device, which was briefly available for $10 on Amazon. It “allows you to punch a hole in almost anything, instantly turning it into a bagel to top with Philadelphia Cream Cheese.”

Is that a product? A PR stunt? A social campaign? I have no idea, but I’m sure they loved the Fast Company coverage. The fact that it doesn’t fit neatly into any box is the ‘hole’ point.

(An aside: What happened when butter badmouthed cream cheese? It launched a shmear campaign!)

Ahem. Anyway, I featured the bagel hole-maker in my talk at the summit as an intro to a roundup of the latest ad offerings from major social platforms that included Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, and TikTok. There’s some bonus material about Fortnite and others too.

I posted the talk on SlideShare at, and that version is fully annotated with talking points, and there are links to all original sources in the notes. Check it out and share it if you’re so inclined. You can download the PowerPoint version - not just the PDF.

Lastly, I have a few people to thank for their role in the talk:
*Leo Morejon, for recommending my involvement in the summit.
*Ari Berkowitz at 360i for terrific examples.
*Hiraarshad on Fiverr for her captivating illustrations.
*Breanna Jacobs & the GSMI / SMSS team for running an event with some of the best presenters I’ve seen in a long time, including many who are new to or who don’t often hit the speaker circuit.

That presentation, capping a dizzying stretch of events, is what I made lately. What are you making of yourself?



I have no clue what this has to do with marketing, but that image of the marmot's face moments before the fox eats it is one I won't forget for a long time. Wow.

Ever meet a founder where you don't know if they're deliberately lying to your face or they're just spewing something fictitious that they totally believe? Well, don't miss this yarn about how Facebook was created in response to the Iraq War, and how it could have prevented the Iraq War. Also, in case you think that this MUST all be some twisted joke, here is Zuckerberg writing about this on Facebook.  

Kara Swisher likes the idea of Facebook's Oversight Board. I think it's great too, until the Oversight Board needs an Oversight Oversight Board to review it.

David Kaplan wrote about Allegiant Air getting into the "fun center" business, which I think is different from Tracy Jordan getting into the "funcooker" business. When David asked me about it, I brought up Hooters, WeGrow, and the ever-extending scent of Musk (Elon, of course). 


Want to include your event below? Just reply with the details.

October 24
This series from Ad Club of NY is one of my favorites. The downside for me is it's my birthday, and I have some plans with family that night. But, if you do register and tell them it's my birthday, they will give you free drinks there. (They will actually give you free drinks anyway, so they might be really confused if you mention my birthday.)

November 6, Royalton Park Avenue (29th St)
New York, NY
Serial Marketers has teamed up with First Wednesdays to bring back this long-standing tradition in NYC. Every month, we'll meet at the penthouse bar from 6-9. While Zack and Rachel post the event links on Facebook, if you want the recurring invite on your calendar, just let me know, and I'll add you to it.

November 14, 2pm EST
Virtual - exclusively in Serial Marketers
As I keep experimenting with new kinds of ways to engage with the Serial Marketers community, I'll be hosting a Q&A within Slack with one of my favorite authors and analysts, Charlene Li, who wrote The Disruption Mindset. You should read this book anyway because, well, she wrote it. But members of the community can ask her whatever's on your mind, and we'll see where the conversation goes. If you want me to send you a calendar invite (or an invite to the group), just say the word. And really, if you somehow haven't become a Li groupie yet, now is a very good time.

Deadline to enter: November 22, 2019
Event: March 11, 2020
Austin, TX
Attention Designers! Place by Design is a pitch competition aimed at showcasing innovative and invigorating design in the public sphere. Urbanists, artists, architects, and designers have the opportunity to present their scalable solutions for improving our shared landscape. Reach out to Brian Wallace if interested and for a code to get the entrance fee waived.


Reach out to me if you want introductions or any additional information, and let me know if you have other job postings you'd like to share. There have also been many job updates within the Slack community, so if you're part of that, be sure to check the #jobs channel for more. 

Senior Manager, Partner, Education & Training
Atlanta, GA
Via my friend Amanda: "I'm currently hiring for a head of partner education and training in Atlanta. It's basically building an academy to educate and certify agencies and freelancers on small business marketing and Mailchimp. Could be a cool role for a content marketing leader (editor/content strategist/etc) or someone with a customer training/certification background.  

Winter 2020 (January) Program - 10/28 deadline
I've been a mentor with Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator for most of the past decade and am a big fan of the companies they select. Let me know if you're interested, and I'll put in a good word or add more color (be sure to still apply directly. "The companies selected to participate in the four-month program will receive a $100,000 investment and the potential for follow-on funding from ERA’s Fund."

Marketing Manager
Via Matthew K. in the Slack group, apply below or connect with him there. "We are an events organization with two large-scale conferences in Las Vegas every year. Our flagship event, Shoptalk, is the fastest-growing event in the history of retail--it takes place in March every year and brings together 8,000+ attendees from around the globe, including the heads of established retailers and brands, venture-backed startups, real estate developers and investment firms."

Client Strategy Consultant
Via Sharon in Slack, here's the overview: "You genuinely enjoy solving client problems and helping teams succeed. Asking critical strategic questions to keep people focused on client goals and achieving stellar outcomes is your jam. You’re also an excellent example to others in the collective when it comes to living your own story while growing your career with Apiary."

Summer fellowship - 10/18 deadline
Via the Slack group: "The prestigious 4A’s MAIP paid summer fellowship applications are now open (deadline this Friday 10/18). If you know a college junior, senior, or graduate person of color who is interested in pursuing a career in advertising or marketing, please encourage them to apply! MAIP will train, coach, connect and offer unparalleled opportunities at 132+ top-tier agencies nationwide - in addition to providing compensation, housing during the fellowship & transportation to/from their host cities. I started my own career as a MAIP intern in 2000...and now I’m a digital marketing business owner and Co-Chair of the MAIP National Alumni Board!"

Senior Product Marketing Manager
Via a friend in the Slack group: The Sr Product Marketing Manager, Marketing Solutions will play a critical role developing the go-to-market strategy for the business, including amassing competitive intelligence, developing solution-specific strategies and building integrated execution plans.  The Sr Product Marketing Manager is a critical cross-functional role, serving as a strategic driver and partner to the product, sales and marketing teams, responsible for the overarching strategy to meet the business objectives of Neustar Marketing Solutions.

Director of People & Operations
Have you seen someone live-sketch a conference session on a giant board? If they were amazing, they were probably with ImageThink. Now, you can join their team. This is also one of the best job descriptions I've read in its attention to detail, and the illustrations don't hurt either.  


David Berkowitz, publisher


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