Share experiences not advice

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Joe Glover, the founder of The Marketing Meetup, used to be a shy networker who felt networking could be kinder. In his search for a safe space to meet other marketers, he created a community that treats each other as people first. In the time since, the community has grown into a global network of over 40,000 lovely marketers. Joe also has his own podcast, Humans Come First, and runs an agency called Empath Marketing. 

Biggest fuck up

The time that comes to mind is when I sent a crappy email, en masse, at a time folks really didn’t need it. 

Step back in time to the beginning of Covid. Folks were scared, figuring things out, and understandably concerned. 

We decided to run our first webinars at The Marketing Meetup, and I was playing around with the automation settings. One option enabled us to send an email to everyone who signed up for the event but did not attend. 

At the time, I had a bee in my bonnet about folks not attending events, so when playing with the settings, I wrote, ‘We missed you – but why would you sign up for an event that you weren’t going to attend?’ – never intending this to see the light of day. 

I was so nervous for the first event, and it went well – but then, 24 hours later…the email was sent, and I started getting folks coming back to me with reasonably angry stuff. It sucked because I had a sense that, for some of them, I was actually causing genuine negative feelings, which I had never intended.

So I sent an apology email. I’d say 60% didn’t respond. 20% were still annoyed. Interestingly – 20% came back and said they actually respected me more for holding my hands up. 

The lessons: 

– Honesty wins. There is nowhere else to go if you’ve been honest. 

– Never write in anger

– Check your ****ing automations

Rant

Mainly the lack of kindness some folks show each other. I’m a student of ‘diagnosis, strategy, and tactics’. It’s a marketing framework that has helped me immeasurably and made me a better marketer.

But, I discovered this a number of years into my career. Some folks have different perspectives on marketing. 

And some choose to respond to these perspectives not with curiosity but with disdain and bad words. That’s a shame. It could be an opportunity to learn from one another, but we’re so hung up on being ‘right’ that we sometimes fail to search for the merits in one another’s words and characters. I think we can do better.

Useful Advice

My dad said not to share advice but to share opinions and experiences instead.

This is the most practical advice I can give because it’s helped me in my confidence when sharing information. I put the responsibility on the reader/listener/watcher to say, ‘Okay, here’s the lesson, now – how can I apply that to my context’ rather than saying, ‘Here’s what you need to do’. 

It acknowledges a bit of humility but also nods to the biggest truth of them all: there are rarely silver bullets – there are usually things that work in a specific context and situation – but not elsewhere. Share an experience – but always give folks the room to apply it to their own context.

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