“In truth, all marketing is communication and almost all communication can be marketing.”
~ Don E. Schultz
Welcome to our Grand Opening.
I initially felt compelled to kick off this blog with a statement of purpose but realized, after some thought, that my real hope is to discover that purpose as I go along. That said, I want to offer an explanation of how a man arrives at a place in life where he creates a blog about marketing. In my case, it all started with 1970s advertising.
I was one of those Gen X kids who grew up firmly planted in front of the television. Memories of my pre-teen years are encased in a fog of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, garish game show sets and all the major sitcoms of the era. Then of course, there were the commercials. The TV spots for Milton-Bradley games, Ronco, Ma Bell and any number of other offerings were the glue that held all of that gloriously kitschy programming of the Nixon-Ford-Carter Era together. And for better or worse I watched and internalized the whole spectacle.
By the time the mid-eighties rolled around, I was off to college. Going into my freshman year, the idea of marketing as a career wasn’t even on my radar screen. I had a vague notion that becoming a lawyer was a respectable option (Ah, how naïve I was!) that would also be financially lucrative. So, I set out to major in political science since I was told that was the sort of thing that one majored in to prepare for law school. Along the way, I came across people whom were communications majors. In learning about what those folks were studying, that seemed a lot more interesting and fun to me than poli sci, so I decided to switch over to that path. That led to a post-college job in advertising sales at the daily newspapers in Syracuse, N.Y., which in turn yielded an opportunity to work on a master’s degree in advertising at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. I had evolved from an elementary school kid who watched commercials while putting off his homework to a young adult whose homework was to watch commercials.
Oddly enough, earning that fancy-pants graduate degree in advertising actually set me on a course away from advertising and into market research, which I’ve been doing for most of the past 15 years and counting. As a researcher, I’ve become heavily involved in all the major marketing functions beyond just communications. I now live in a world of quantitative analysis and data mining and strategic planning and predictive modeling. And I love it all. One of the great things about a marketing job is that you use many different parts of your brain in a given day, needing to be, at various turns, creative, analytical and socially adept…sometimes all at once.
But for all that much-appreciated variety and career evolution, part of me will always be that kid who wandered into the vast, many-chambered marketing complex through the door labeled “Communications.” Therein lies my main reason for starting this blog. I don’t view myself as a marketeer who is taking a stab at writing a blog, but rather as a writer who happens to have been lucky enough to enjoy a pretty satisfying career in marketing. And as a writer, two truisms have been drilled into my head as relentlessly as product demonstrations in a late-night commercial for Ginsu knives : (1) Writers write, and (2) Write what you know. Ultimately, this blog is my attempt to fulfill both of those imperatives.
I hope you’ll stick with me as this blog evolves and finds its footing. I think it’s going to be fun. And, as the great man used to warn me every Saturday morning when I was a kid, if you’re not careful, you may learn something before it’s done.