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Totemic Branding

The history of marketing is pretty awesome. It’s easy to find non-fiction books, or to read about the mad men like Ogilvy, but the roots of advertising are embedded much deeper In our culture. The same principles apply now as they did three thousand years ago because it’s all processed in the end through the same machine – the human brain.

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This One Tip Will Double Your Clicks

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rubmyfurby said: I am getting a degree in advertising but I'm starting to think that maybe I should've tried to get a degree in marketing. Is there any way I could do marketing management with this degree by doing a masters in marketing or should I switch?

College curriculum varies. As does your end goal. Let me tell you what I know, and hopefully some of it will help.

An advertising degree is typically the path you take when you want to become an art director, copywriter or account manager in advertising.

A marketing degree is typically the path to be more of a generalist.

If you want to be an AD or writer.
You face very stiff competition for coveted spots. To get them, you generally need to be connected to advertising societies (American Advertising Federation, Ad Club, whatever have you) to get your work in front of some one and have a great “book” of your art or writing.

If you want to just get your foot in the door.
You should go the path of account management, project management or production. You should still get connected to an advertising society and be as charismatic as possible. Do internships out the wazoo. I had to do three to really get my foot in the door. Competition for these jobs is easier than writer or AD, but still not the simplest to obtain if you want to work in a professional agency.

If you get into business management, project management, production or account management in PR, Advertising, or media or just an entry job at most businesses in marketing departments. A generalist.
This is what a marketing degree is for. I can’t speak to non-marketing fields, but generally speaking a masters doesn’t matter. Agencies of all types run on 1) ambition and 2) connections. A masters degree means you have less practical life experience, but demand a higher salary than someone who spent their time in the field, your competition. If you get a masters you are, generally speaking, probably making finding an initial job more difficult.

I know the fear is usually to hide in college. Hell, I felt it too. My personal recommendation is to get out there and then get a degree at night if you feel you’re hitting a ceiling. Being said, I also advise you to make your own path and damn the consequences of what any internet person tells you. ;)

Rarely Content

Content marketing and gamification are hot topics these days. Partly because marketers need something unique to sell, partly because they were neglected real estate outside of SEO circles.

But if you’re a small business owner (or even a large business owner), content isn’t always the best way to sell your product. Though marketing circles treat it as something that is for everyone, the hard reality is that it’s an extremely situational form of marketing.

Why Not to Do It

  1. Every dollar you spend, every hour of time commitment you spend, is money lost or not invested in media. If you do not recoup that investment, it’s a vicious spiral of wasted time.

  2. To recoup the investment, you need traffic - organic or paid. Traffic you could be directing to your product, you are instead sidelining to make yourself a thought leader.

  3. Learning to make good content requires more time investment than just writing, posting and driving traffic. It also requires an analytical mind to measure and refine through analytics. Learning to make great content is a life-long commitment.

How to Do It

  1. Have a source of traffic, a way to get people to your content. Don’t rely on “virality” because you can’t really control that. If you don’t have a media plan, and you don’t know it’s smart, it’s not worth doing.

  2. Have patience. It takes a long time to build up a following on content. Years.

  3. Follow the rules of good journalism: Write simply. Write about topics people care about. Cut down as much copy as you can. Have a unique hook. 

  4. Once you have people viewing, refine, test, refine, test, repeat. Understand who your audience is and where they come from.

  5. Make sure people care about your topic. If your product audience is niche, make niche content.

If you are a small business owner, strongly consider strengthening your product sales first, before going into content creation. If you are doing it as a branding exercise for a mid-size or large company, understand that while content works towards that goal, it’s not going to have a measurable impact on your bottom line at the end of the quarter.

Overall, please, weight all the options. Almost all content creation endeavors, outside of a select few major online publications and people who are smoke / mirroring by getting income through another channel, fail. This is fact. Tread lightly my marketing fellows.

roscolc said: I have a degree in psychology, can i get a job in advertising?

Yep. However most who position themselves in psychology have advanced degrees. It’s handy in many situations though.

1972087412 said: Hello, you take really good!

Thank you

The Multiplier

Marketing is a multiplier. It’s only worth doing if the product you create is very desirable, has low competition, takes advantage of a temporary business environment, or has a competitive advantage. If you don’t have at least one of those traits, marketing will not be worth doing.

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A Failure to Communicate

Brand X has 82 million fans on Facebook. But the posts they don’t pay to promote only see about 3,000 likes. I F**** Love Science has 15 million fans, but sees between 13,000 - 200,000 likes per post.

Behind Facebook is an algorithm that says the more people engage with your content, the more people will see it. So, it’s in every brand’s interest to create content their fans will love. And here’s the kicker, most followers of a brand page are paid for by media (“like” ads). So what’s the difference between the two?

Brand X talks about itself, and IFLS talks about experiences other people love. X promotes itself, which is a viable strategy, but lets think of it another way: liking a page is like inviting a guest into your home, or in this case your daily news feed. A great guest entertains with stories you love, really great bits that aren’t about their accomplishments, but about making you feel really great or happy. A bad house-guest comes in and sells you an encyclopedia set.

And behind the scenes of X is someone who thinks that’s great, they are selling encyclopedias, and if invited in, that’s what you get. But really? A missed opportunity. A missed opportunity to become a friend. A missed opportunity to show that your brand can be entertaining and delightful! And, most painfully of all, a missed opportunity to set aside ego and really learn what drives the people who love your product.

And beyond brands, it’s a humbling life lesson. Be a person that listens. Be a person that entertains. Be a person that loves enough to set aside yourself in conversations and focus down on what matters to others. Positive reactions follow and people listen to you when you become that person, just like in Facebook algorithms.

Become a better marketer. 

Those who fight the ocean.


In the beginning, there were only three islands, with three peoples. The strong, the hearty, and the wise.

The ocean was angry, “You are the strongest village, run or I will ruin you.” The wave came, but they were so strong they defeated it. The villagers laughed at the ocean. Then the second came, and they fought it. They panted. Wave after wave came, and consumed them.

But the ocean was not done, for it was angry. “You are the heartiest of people. Run, or I will ruin you.” Their houses were strong, and they had intellect enough to build them well. They laughed at the ocean. The ocean came relentlessly, washing away all the crops and cattle until the village starved.

But the ocean was still angry. “You are the wisest village. Run, or I will ruin you.” The wise did not laugh, for they knew toil and pain. They were not bold or hearty. They built boats, and though it pained them to see their village in ruin, they learned to ride the waves and to live off the ocean.

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How to Become a Storyteller


The Introduction, The Pledge, The Call to Adventure
Today you will learn how to start the journey towards becoming a storyteller. You can be a teller who weaves words together like silk, who can enrapture audiences both big or small, and who can bring an audience into worlds you’ve never imagined. Storytellers. And it all begins here.

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