A New Book? By Yours, Truly
Let's See What Happens (5-min read)
Ever since I published my first book, a thought has ran through my mind: I could always be writing a book. That felt pretty true in 2018 and it feels true today. I should be booking it.
The problem is, sitting down and writing the first book took months and I focused on little else — that year feels but a blur. And committing to that kind of writing schedule is untenable for the actively-working human (me).
So I’m going to try two-birds-one-stone-ing this. I’m going to use the newsletter as a draft for my next book.
Each week, I plan to deliver the core of a chapter of my in-progress book. I can’t guarantee what you read will be polished, but it will be valuable.
Before you run off thinking I’ve hoodwinked you into reading, let me clear the air. There’s no guarantee this content will make it into the final product. The content will center around a marketing theme and remain true to The Mmm… letter mission, which is to deliver the chillest scoop of marketing advice on the web.
This won’t go on forever, as most efforts to publish do. I will self-publish the book, so there’s no requisite content length and no one to answer to but you, the reader.
And lastly, an honest attempt at book-writing changes its author. In chapter two, I may dash the opinions I held so dear in chapter one. So at minimum, you’ll get to peek behind the creative and clumsy process of book-writing.
And in this process, you have a say. Leave feedback, challenge my assertions, and help me make a better book than I could have when left alone in my writer’s cave.
That makes you kind of my agent and my editor, okay? Okay, great.
Without further adieu, here’s the pitch (and first-chapter, ish).
The goal of this book is to elaborate on the recurring theme of my recent posts: marketing ethics.
I want to arm you with the moral weapons you need to combat the unethical, yet oh-so-common tactics employed in our industry.
And it’s insufficient to identify a problematic practice; you also need the evidence at hand to maintain your moral high-ground when challenged by colleagues and superiors.
Lastly, I want this book to empower you to aim for something better. It’s so easy to fall into the stream of that’s how we’ve always done it and end up loathing the work you do.
Your customers deserve better, and more importantly, so do you.
The working title for this book is The Marketer’s Bible: Sell Your Products, Not Your Soul. In it, I have a draft of 10 commandments (ha ha) that guide you off the beaten path of short-sightedness toward a longer, prosperous career route in any field you pursue.
Pretty bold claim for an unwritten book, if I do say so myself.
Here’s a preview of the content table (subject to change). Thou Shalt Not…
Misprice Thy Wares
Signal Thy Virtue
Covet Thy Neighbor’s Brand
Make False Claims Nor Promises
Toy With Thy Buyer’s Mind
Reduce Buyers to Numerals
Condemn Thy Disciples
Silence Thy Communications
Paint Lipstick Upon Thy Pig
and Abdicate Thy Responsibility
In this issue, I’m writing an introductory chapter. And in the following issues, I aim to publish excerpts or whole chapters each week, culminating in enough content to assemble a portable guidebook.
Anyone who comments or emails me advice or examples throughout this period gets a free eBook copy of the finished product.
Why This Book
The subtitle of my first book, Good Content, read A Genuine Content Strategy for the Reluctant Marketer. That was wildly appropriate for an author at odds with his role.
I spent my early career in STEM as a software developer, but marketing was among the first skills for which I received recognition.
Each year, my high school bestowed one boy and one girl with the Marketer of the Year Award, and I discovered that fact 15-seconds before they announced me as its male recipient.
And the following day, my teacher informed me that had the school permitted him to award a single student, I would have been its sole recipient.
Despite the momentary ego-boost offered by the surprise accolade, a career in marketing never broke my top-10 wish-list (‘filmmaker’ was all 10). Yet a decade later, I fell backwards into a marketing solo-career after discovering the power of honesty in advertising.
Since then, it’s been an existential battle between my two halves: the existing half that believed marketing was a sleazy game played by sleazier people (present company excluded), and the newer better half that understood marketing with humility was an effective and overlooked long-term strategy.
How could I do the work I knew needed doing when too few people believed what I believed?
In this author’s humble opinion, far too many marketers, and I include entrepreneurs in that category, seek the warm embrace of deceit. After all, how many were famously fired for ‘fudging the numbers’?
Compounding the problem is today’s democratized access to ad platforms. A teenager can put an ad on social media in under 10-minutes and for less than 10-dollars. And some do.
But 30-years ago, getting your message in front of 1,000 people was a cost-prohibitive activity. At best, $10 got you one line in the small-town paper’s classifieds, a ways off from a thousand Facebook profiles expressing interest in Pogs & inline-skates.
As a consequence, we now see more ads from more inexperienced advertisers than at any other time in history. And thanks to monkey-see-monkey-do thinking, we’ve birthed marketers all over the world who repeat the mistakes they see all around them; mistakes which appear to be “the norm.”
Making egregious claims. Advertising products that don’t exist (and never will). Pressuring, shaming, and coercing people into buying. Luring people into endless funnels and relentlessly retargeting them. Spamming a purchased email list. And so many more.
- Marcus Aurelius
If you’re reading this book, you’re looking for a way out. You want to market your products without depleting your moral cache.
And you’re facing an un-budging team; they’re comfortable with the status quo and they’re ignorant of the alternatives.
This book gives you the tools you need to recognize short-sighted marketing behaviors, pin them down by definition, and confront them and their supporters with superior options.
I know it’s not cool to ‘shame’ people for much of anything — thanks, moral relativism — but sometimes we need to remind people of the golden rule: do unto others.
Use this as your guidebook to the golden rule. This text will remind you of marketing’s true purpose: help others help themselves, and help you fight back against the practices that plague our industry.
Good luck, God speed, and turn the page.