Issue 31: Got TBD?
From Serial Marketer: "The Cutting Edge of Marketing”

Before getting started, I'll share a plug that came in response to last week's newsletter. For newer readers here, I always ask, "What are you making of yourself?" and I always appreciate an answer. One of the best answers I ever received came last week from Shelly Lipton, who I first connected with in 2013. He's running the non-profit Second Chance Toys to keep gently-used toys out of landfills and get them to kids who need and appreciate them. I love the mission, and they're running a lot of toy drives now, so check them out. 

On to this edition...

As is often the case, I started putting together this week's newsletter with the title "TBD." Some weeks, themes come easier than others.

And yet, there's a surprising lesson about this from an episode of "Trolls: The Beat Goes On," the TV show spinoff of the animated movie. 

In one episode, which happens to be my preschooler's favorite, the protagonists Poppy and Branch are thrown in jail, betrayed by a young lad from a race of dragons with a genocidal bent. While troll jail is a woodland pleasure palace, if the heroes don't escape, their entire nation may become extinct, or at least sold off into slavery. Gotta love children's programming these days.

Poppy, cheerful as she is, comes up with a plan. A key part of it is "TBD," and when Branch grills her on how "TBD" will save the trolls, Poppy returns to her diagram where a literal depiction of the letters "TBD" is what frees them from jail. Then she describes a covert ops mission to overpower the dragons, who by this point are plotting to slaughter trolls in their version of the Colosseum. 

What Poppy demonstrates so perfectly is the need to work backwards. She determines her goal (keep her people alive and free) and the strategy (use trickery to overcome the dragon menace). 

Too often, in business, we're stuck, and we see the equivalent of getting out of jail as the goal. In "Shawshank Redemption," getting out led Brooks to commit suicide. Andy, however, had the goal of living a quiet, peaceful life as a free man that made his tactics so purposeful. (And no, my kid does not watch that movie.)

Getting out isn't the goal though. In Poppy's case, she had an ally in Branch. By having her team of two agree on the goal and strategy, they could come up with better tactics. In their case, a double-crossing dragon was the catalyst for escape. Once the troll heroes escaped, Poppy and Branch knew exactly what they had to do.

And thus, even four-year-olds can learn the difference between strategy and tactics. She will have no need to read Sun Tzu when she's older (also, "The Art of War" is overrated, at least for business purposes). I need to do this more often myself, putting down "TBD" as the tactic and focusing on the bigger picture. 

I'm making myself read too much into children's TV shows. Next week: negotiation techniques from "Puppy Dog Pals." (I'm kidding, I think.) What are you making of yourself?



It's not even a real ad. Imagine how much better yours will do in reaching so many influential marketers.
If interested, inquire within.

TL;DR: No. Here are six trends to look at via NfX, including: U=use cases, more talent, private blockchains, funding normalization, a maturing ecosystem, and good global regulation.

In one of the best mashups I've ever seen, writer and director Omar Najam took a cheerful Amazon spot, set it to "Captain America: Winter Soldier" trailer music, and turned it into a mini-episode of "Black Mirror."

Speaking of Amazon... Amazon topping this retailer list is hardly surprising. I knew Walmart and Apple would be there, but I wouldn't have expected eBay's share is nearly as high as those two combined. And then there's the #5 slot... Home Depot. How come the ad trades don't talk about them constantly? Perhaps some retail-focused outlets do, but it seems like if you've got one brand that has held steady as the fifth largest e-commerce player, they should be getting a lot more attention (as should eBay).

Back in 2006, when I helped launch the influencer marketing practice at 360i, I had so much hope for the discipline. And yet, the way so much of influencer marketing is run now, it makes the rest of the ad industry look saintly by comparison. Here's a great piece on how it really works. And yes, even though so much of it is still dirty, it can work - which is almost the worst part of it.

If you haven't read the 'Nothing on This Page is Real' Story in the Washington Post, check this out. After this story and the one above, let me know where to meet you for a few really strong drinks (or a mulled cider, or a La Croix if you prefer).

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

December 1
Los Angeles, CA
I love Tameka's work, and this should be a great addition to LA's event calendar: The In.flux Reality Mixer is a pop-up innovation lounge, blending TED-style talks with immersive technology demos and a digital art installation. Speakers and attendees from across advertising, VR/AR/AI, academia and entertainment will gather to learn, network and get creatively inspired. It's the first of a series of events produced by long-time conference programmer Tameka Kee (eMarketer, Digital Summit, ad:tech, etc.) who is offering Serial Marketer readers a special discount (use code SERIAL for 20% off). 

December 5
These are some of my favorite local events. This month's features Warren Zenna, President US, Location Sciences; Joel Wright, President & Founder, #Hashoff; Mike Teitelman, CEO & Founder, Trapica; and Ahmet Tosen, CEO & Founder, Poltio 

CES 2019
January 8-11
Las Vegas
I may return for my 13th straight year and am open to ways we can collaborate there. Registration is now open. Are you going?

Q1 2019
Philadelphia, PA
Need your Gritty fix? You better. Because Grittycon is coming. I mentioned #Grittycon on Twitter in connection with the aforementioned Adweek article. Then Caroline McCarthy said she would keynote. And now she's co-chairing it, and keynoting. Don Steele chimed in with his own contribution; he's a definite. Within 10 minutes of that tweet, we had a website up. A few minutes later, we had a functioning Mailchimp list (now with 50+ subscribers). The next day, we had an inquiry from the Washington Post. I don't have all the details yet, but I'm pretty sure that this is happening. While we will be charging for it, Caroline and I are doing this because, well, we need to do this, so we will keep the price as low as possible so that everyone who wants to get marketing inspiration from Gritty can attend.

Submissions: globally through February 20
Event: April 5, Venice, Italy
The Crowdsourcing Week BOLD Awards, showcasing innovative businesses and individuals, will be a rewarding event for amazing projects, individuals and companies. After submitting your project, our team will review it within 1 week. If your project is accepted, it will appear online and votes will start on Jan 10th. Submissions are open and will be closed on February 20, 2019. Submitting a project will be completely free until January 1st, 2019.


New jobs are listed at the top, and older ones are phased out. 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. The newsletter does work; in October, someone reported that she landed a job through one of these postings.

Product Marketing Manager
Via a friend at LiveIntent (if you want an intro, let me know): "LiveIntent is looking for a product-savvy, high-energy individual join our growing team. The Product Marketing Manager (PMM) will play a key role in refining and communicating the value proposition of LiveIntent products to marketers and publishers. You will have the ability to create product marketing initiatives that will help progress our prospects and clients to strategic levels, as well as educate our internal teams – including case studies, market research, product collateral, FAQs, and client-specific material."

VP Marketing
Via a friend who sent this my way: "This is the opportunity of a lifetime for a seasoned marketer who wants to build a global brand that will be synonymous with real estate. There are few products who's core value proposition and capabilities inherently offer opportunities for "marketing as a service". You will be supported by and partner with senior leaders who have deep experience in marketing and mar-tech. We are looking for an experienced Marketing leader with a proven record of creating marketing strategy and delivering results for B2C companies. The ideal candidate knows how to develop a creative and media buying strategy AND relishes getting their hands dirty -- we are a fast-moving startup that’s growing quickly."

Growth Marketing Lead
San Francisco
Via Slack: "West Coast marketers: just closed a $5 million seed round, but we still need a long-term marketing person (Director/Sr. Director ideally) to drive growth. Think of this as D2C in B2B." Apply below, reach out to the hiring lead in Slack, or reach out to me for an intro.

Customer Support Manager
I know a lot of folks there if this is of interest: "Suzy is a human intelligence platform that helps organizations make better, more informed decisions…faster. As a Customer Support Manager, you will be responsible for answering email and chat inquiries and helping to troubleshoot and solve problems with our members and clients. You will be primarily responsible for communicating with our member base but will have more opportunities to interface with clients over time."

SEO Specialist (Part-Time Contractor)
New York, NY
Via the community: "In this critical role on AlixPartners’ global Digital Marketing team, you will manage and optimize our SEO activities, with the aim of improving our rankings and share of mind. You will use our SEO management and website tools (Conductor Searchlight, Google Analytics, and Umbraco) and utilize your knowledge of SEO best practices to position us for success, ensure our reporting is set up properly and execute the day to day SEO activity."

VP Marketing
New York, NY
I can refer you here, or click the link below: "For Days is an eco-conscious subscription-based clothing company that is changing the future of fashion! Their mission is to eliminate clothing waste by creating the first ever closed-loop fashion brand. Starting with 100% Certified Organic products, members have constant access to fresh styles and For Days recycles all of their old products. Zero Waste. Zero Risk. For Days is creating the commerce model of the future! For Days is looking for their first VP of Marketing to drive their multi-channel marketing strategy with the goal of driving significant, intelligent member growth and long-term value. The ideal candidate is a thought partner and executor who will draw on experience and data-driven insights to build their marketing engine!"

Strategic Partnerships Lead
New York, NY
I can refer you here, or click the link below: "Rally Rd. is an app for buying and selling equity shares in classic cars. They are taking a high value asset and making them accessible to everyone! This is the perfect role for a hustler with experience landing big deals and partnerships with companies that are household names. They will be responsible for developing and leading Rally Rd.'s strategic channel partnership initiatives with organizations of multiples sizes in multiple industries - both consumer and enterprise. The Strategic Partnership Lead will work closely with the executive team and various team leaders to identify and develop strong, mutually beneficial relationships with companies that have strategically compatible areas of expertise.  Responsibilities include planning, executing, and maintaining a variety of large-scale business development initiatives to bring value to existing customers and leverage the customer base of like-minded partners."


Mitch Kapler writes: "Something I've been thinking deeply about lately. If a CMO was to ask me what playbook they need to use to win the future, I'd show them this." Read his thoughts, with the accompanying diagram.

Dan Lewis is running a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for his new Now I Know channel on YouTube.

Valeria Maltoni offers a rich analysis of "the relationship of value and influence" relating to Facebook's crisis.


Thanks again to 4C Insights for their support of this newsletter and of serial marketers everywhere. If you're looking to sponsor this newsletter in Q1 2019 or beyond, please reach out. 

David Berkowitz, publisher


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