The No. 1 career killer for content marketers (and inbound marketers) is …

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This phenomenon is probably not news to anyone in marketing: People stay with organizations for decades and they remember the print-only days at the organization. Or people stick around for months!

“Hey, new kid! How come that 20-month project isn’t showing results in month 2? Buh bye!!!”

I’m currently working in my second longest stint at one job and it has a shot to become the longest job stint with one company I had next year.

As I’m continuing to work with clients around the globe I’m fascinated by what causes marketing projects and sometimes marketing careers to fail. Some obvious answers:

  • Executive impatience
  • Budget
  • Office politics
  • Wrong players in the wrong seats on the bus
  • Etc.

The biggest marketing career killer might however be this scenario:

  • Marketer promotes a product
  • Because they are good, people buy it
  • And then the product doesn’t hold up to what the marketer promised

And since the marketer’s name is now attached to it, it easily becomes their fault and problem.

Prospects and now ex-clients start whispering to each other: Yes, they are good marketers but the product team cannot deliver. So don’t talk to them. Waste of time and money.

That becomes more and more of a problem as some marketers are more and more public. Even the not so public ones can have name recognition behind the scenes. Sales people know what I’m talking about!

Global marketing expert Neal Schaffer recently “rebranded” as Neal Schaffer as opposed to other brand names he used,  because that brand isn’t going away. Australian social media expert Jeff Bullas has been following that model for a while. I don’t on here since this is The Authentic Storytelling blog but ultimately it’s just my personal blog. There’s been confusion at times.

One thing to keep in mind for today’s marketer: Your name, word and reputation is really all that you have.

As Mark Schaefer says in his 2017 personal branding book “Known” it takes a couple years to become known when you do things right. Here’s an affiliate link to buy his book, meaning that if you click and buy I get a cut. I haven’t read the book yet!

And while it takes months to become known for what you want to be known for, it only takes one crappy customer experience, public review or behind-the-scenes chatter to ruin it – at least partially.

Newspaper articles back in the day apply here. The process:

  • I would write an article
  • Somebody else would add a headline to it

Sometimes, the headlines made no sense, sometimes they were wrong and sometimes they promised something the article never intended to keep. Remember, the article was written first.

Today, I and most of my bloggers write their own headlines and then the complete package goes to an editor. As one package. The distribution strategist then knows what to work with and often was involved in the process much earlier –  even from the start.

The same process should be done with today’s marketers and the people building products and providing services.

Life’s a team sport!

And if I’m expected to vouch for it with my name, I have to be involved. That even includes the post-purchase feedback. Did it work? What was a problem? What was loved? Etc.

A while back I was talking with a global software company to see if we could work together. Things sounded interesting and the conversation went like this:

“As a next step I really need to review and test drive the product.”

“Of course.”

<Test drive happens >

“Looks great. I can endorse this.”


That was a fascinating experience. And really how it should happen.

Marketing crappy products can be a career killer for marketers. But being involved in what’s being offered and then marketing what works can be a career enabler for all involved.

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