There is no shortage of bullsh*t in the marketing industry. And there is no shortage of people willing to peddle it under the guise of ‘thought leadership.’ However, the inconvenient truth about marketing is that while everything changes around us, human nature does not. And that’s who we’re selling to. Humans. So the fundamentals still, and always will apply:
Find a problem worth solving. Solve it. Tell people a story about how much better they’ll feel once you’ve solved the problem for them.
That’s it. That’s ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶t̶w̶e̶e̶t marketing.
Unfortunately, that’s not great for your career as a ‘thought leader’. Or your marketing agency business. If the client wants a shiny new thing, the agency will turn up with a beautifully designed presentation and a balding executive in a tight-fitting blazer and even tighter-fitting jeans ready to wax lyrical about how Tik Tok will revolutionize how people purchase car insurance. Or some other sh*t like that.
What are they thinking? Well, I’d argue, they’re not.
Writing is thinking on paper. Anyone who thinks clearly should be able to write clearly — about any subject at all.
-William Zinsser, On Writing Well
I agree with Zinsser, with the caveat that not all writing is equal. Building Powerpoint decks may be considered ‘writing’, but in my experience, it often has nothing to do with clarity. In fact, it’s often the opposite.
Throw in enough stats and third-party research broken up by ‘the world is changing’ type statement slides and you might just sound like someone who knows what they’re talking about. Often, the client will be too embarrassed to admit that they don’t have a f*cking clue what your actual point is, because, of course, they ‘get it.’
If you want to see if you truly get it, however, close the LinkedIn and Twitter tabs and try writing about it as if you’re telling a story to a five-year-old. Sh*t gets real, real fast, doesn’t it? Good. Let your writing lead your thoughts. And then please, do come back and share with us.