The Age of Disgruntled Marketing Employees Turned Renegades is Here

by Marcus Sheridan

against the grain

The more I look around, the more I see marketers going against the grain and thinking big IN SPITE of their employers…

On a plane ride home from speaking in Phoenix this week I had the absolute pleasure of sitting next to a gentleman who has a significant role the in the marketing department for a major automobile manufacturer. As we discussed his current strategies for enhancing the brand awareness of his products, one thing became blatantly obvious: He was frustrated…VERY frustrated.

Like so many of his marketing peers, he has been given the charge to “get results” yet has almost no budgetary allowance for social media, content marketing, etc.

But here is what was so interesting about this fellow—he was literally getting ready to put on a massive event that would bring his company’s car owners together to generate publicity, loyalty, and general product awareness—and he was doing it IN SPITE of his employer.

Yep, between connections in various industries and pulling from his own wallet, this man is literally putting his money where his mouth is and willing this event to happen, a sacrifice that 99% of all employees in the world would likely never even consider making.

The battle between those stuck in the past and those ready to move forward

As I drove home from the airport and considered this man’s marketing vision and dedication, my mind was flooded with other examples of disgruntled marketing employees I’ve been in touch with recently.

Honestly, I’m not sure why I seem to suddenly be seen as a champion by many within the “under-appreciated and under-utilized marketer” crowd (a title I don’t mind by any means), but the amount of emails I seem to be getting these days from CMOs, CCOs, and marketers that have a clear vision of content marketing and its benefits but can’t seem to get any support from management has exploded.

In fact, there have been quite a few times over the last two months that I’ve flat-out told some of these disillusioned employees they should quit and take their talents and vision to someone else that actually “gets it.”

Take for example this email from Jeremy, as it’s absolutely profound:

Hi Marcus,

I’m about 45 pages deep into your Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy eBook and am simply blown away by the quality of your message, story, and unique voice. Indeed, I can relate to the ‘getting buy-in’ on inbound, as it goes against all forms of the traditional marketing I saw as a kid….Having little budget and zero personnel support from a marketing perspective , my role was to promote our services using a non-existent marketing budget. I turned to the SEOmoz blog for advice on getting our site to stand out for key search phrases, and then dove into the lead generation side with content creation tactics (eBooks, PowerPoint presentations for SlideShare, email marketing, etc.). Fortunately, I had encountered the HubSpot blog, their bundle of eBooks and webinars, and soon passed their inbound marketing course.

The biggest challenge of that role was keeping my inbound marketing efforts a secret, since these new and out-of-the-ordinary techniques were seen as ‘not worth the time’. At work, I would do the cold calls, plan for trade shows, etc. But at night, I came to life- spending countless hours performing keyword research, looking up directories for backlinks, generating content for eBooks, developing slide decks, optimizing our LinkedIn page- you get the point. I was sold on the tried and true methods of inbound, but I was stuck doing old-school ‘marketing’. It was the Olympics of cognitive dissonance.

Jeremy

Crazy, huh? This guy is literally “going dark” with his marketing efforts because his boss refuses to get with the program.

A Marketing Call to Arms

In reality, Jeremy and my friend on the plane are just two of thousands upon thousands of marketers who are becoming more and more disenchanted with the antiquated and non-effective strategies of their current employer and are therefore trying to do whatever it takes to get the proper marketing programs in place. Whether it’s bending the rules or just flat-out breaking them, such renegades, I can clearly attest, are growing in numbers every single day.

As I look ahead, I don’t see this movement slowing down. In fact, I think there are too many companies that do “get it” for talented folks with marketing acumen to simply sit back and wait to join the ranks.

I also think this is exactly why if you’re a marketer and feel completely trapped within an organization that refuses to look forward, then you should stop waiting around and start doing something.

Either get yourself fired because you’re the stallion that can’t be tied up or move on.

I’m serious when I say this.

Yes, it may be a little scary, but at the same time, you just may do something amazing that changes your life and the business you’re in.

Isn’t that worth the risk?

Your Turn:

I’m curious: Do you know any marketing renegades? Tell us about them. Also, have you ever been in the position where you felt handcuffed by management yet knew certain components of social or content marketing would get huge results? What did you do?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts :-)

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