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Original articles from Sean Duffy.
What Does a Digital Marketing Strategist Do That a Marketing Strategist Can't?
Even though I run a digital marketing agency, I have a love/hate relationship with placing the word “digital” in front of everything we do. The reason for this incongruity was best expressed by Claire Knapp in her eloquent post titled “There is no such thing as digital marketing. There is only marketing.”

The 8 Pitfalls of International Marketing and How to Avoid Them
For many products and services, expansion into foreign markets can be a logical step in an overall growth strategy. But, with new opportunity comes new risk — and that should be managed. Any seasoned marketer understands how challenging it is to succeed domestically. Obviously, for brands that cross borders, that challenge is multiplied by every country served.

Is It Time to Flip the Agency Model?
“I hope I have to pay you a fortune.” A client texted me this message recently in reaction to a campaign proposal. This client is participating in a pilot project my agency started last year. We wanted to see what would happen if we flipped the traditional agency business model. In recent months, that question has been answered several times over with reactions similar to his.

Best of TZM: Why Business Schools Need More Street Smarts
Had the leadership of Sears, Borders, Encyclopedia Britannica, or Kodak been better trained, the world might look a lot different: Amazon would still be focused on paper books, having been unable to compete with Sears in the online retail space or with Borders’ burgeoning e-book business; Britipedia would have beat Wikipedia to become the world’s go-to reference guide; and the iPhone would be known as the KodaPhone.

Why Business Schools Need More Street Smarts
It's back to school for over 150 million university students around the globe. Millions of them will be studying business and hundreds of thousands will be seeking their master’s in marketing. Of these, about a hundred will wind up in front of my lectern. And when they do, I want to find some way to have them turn out better than the business leaders who have driven revered brands like Sears, Borders, Encyclopedia Britannica, and Kodak into obscurity this year.

Why is the C-suite So Sour on CMOs?
Contrary to popular belief, CMOs today enjoy unprecedented job security with tenure at historic highs. In fact, over the past year, the average CMO tenure reached the dizzying height of 3.5 years. That may not sound like much compared to the decade of service CEOs usually render, but it is the highest average since the executive search consulting firm Spencer Stuart began tracking CMO tenure in 2004. Back then, CMO tenure was only 1.8 years.

Best of TZM: Why We Haven't Met on Google+ Yet
I want to use Google+. I want my colleagues and clients and you to use it as well. I think it has the potential to be a major catalyst for business networking. If it succeeds, it could carve out a very lucrative space for itself positioning LinkedIn more squarely as a recruitment tool and Facebook as a socializing tool. But there is one thing stopping me from jumping into Google+ with both feet.

Beyond Advertising: The Real Value of Facebook for Brands
Facebook and its investors depend on advertising to generate 85% of the social platform’s $3.7 billion annual revenue. That made GM’s retreat from Facebook last month particularly poignant for marketers and investors alike. The New York Times reported that “GM, the third-largest advertiser in the country, shut down its Facebook budget, about $10 million, saying that those ads were simply not doing enough to sell automobiles.” This has caused a lot of speculation over Facebook’s usefulness to marketers.

Positioning: Don't Try This at Home
I have one piece of advice for any communication professional that is thinking about repositioning their own brand: Don’t. Have you ever heard the expression, “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client”? After three months of working on my own company’s brand position, I can safely say this proverbial wisdom applies equally well to brand consultants.

Why We Haven't Met on Google+ Yet
I want to use Google+. I want my colleagues and clients and you to use it as well. I think it has the potential to be a major catalyst for business networking. If it succeeds, it could carve out a very lucrative space for itself positioning LinkedIn more squarely as a recruitment tool and Facebook as a socializing tool. But there is one thing stopping me from jumping into Google+ with both feet. It’s not the coding or the functionality or the interface. It’s the Google brand.

KONY 2012: Should Your Brand Still Support It?
A couple of weeks ago the words “Joseph Kony” would have meant little to you or me. And not because we haven’t heard of him before. We have been hearing about Kony for over two decades. For example, since 1995 the New York Times has written 75 stories on Kony, seven of which have made the front page. Amnesty International has been publicizing his misdeeds for just as long.

The Social Media Revolution is Over. Now What?
For all purposes, it would seem the social media revolution is over...and social media won. Now what?

2012: Time to Ditch the Pitch
Pitching has always been my favorite part of the advertising business. I became good at it. I loved the focus, the camaraderie, and the adrenaline. I loved the late nights, cold pizza, and hot coffee. And I loved winning, which thankfully happened more often than not. For one stretch of my career pitching was all I did. Of course, I didn’t own an ad agency back then. I was pitching on someone else’s dime.

Best of TZM 2011: How to Manage Your Personal Brand

How the CMO Grinch Got Social
This month’s post was inspired by Dr. Seuss, the Season, and a recent article from Forbes, stating that 71% of CMOs are under-prepared to manage the current "data explosion," while 68% struggle with social media. Happy Holidays!

Why Nordstrom Creeps Me Out
I’m writing this post in early November and I’d like to be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas. Unfortunately, I’m sure some retailer has already beaten me to it. A recent headline in USA Today read, “Santa's becoming a September fixture” citing Christmas promotions beginning as early as July and August.

Seven Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Anyone can call themselves an entrepreneur. That’s why so many do. You’ll see it on business cards, LinkedIn profiles, and Twitter bios. But please accept that some monikers, like “hero,” “genius,” or “great dancer” only work when applied by someone other than yourself.

Subjectivity in Advertising: A Losing Proposition
The problem with the “advertising is subjective” argument is that it replaces intellectual rigor and research with a shoulder shrug and back-to-the-drawing-board mentality. Not good for profits or morale. But, as you have noticed, our industry is changing.

Borders: A Brand Lesson Before Dying?
As someone who likes bookstores, I’m sad to see Borders bite the dust. As someone who works with brands, I’m intrigued with what went so horribly wrong with a brand that, at one time, seemed unstoppable.

How to Manage Your Personal Brand
This is an unexpected offshoot of the personal branding bonanza: It is unwittingly training an entire generation of people in the principles and practices of proper online brand management. But what is it about this training that seems to make it so much more effective than the training received by many marketers?

Will Direct Response Save Advertising?
Last week I read a great op-ed piece in The Boston Globe by Alex Poulos called “Mad Men of the Future.” He makes several excellent observations, but overall, the article paints a pretty dreary picture of life in 2031 when technology will have allowed advertising to reach unbearable levels of intrusiveness.

80 Years Later: What Have We Learned From Neil McElroy's Memo?
In 1931, a simple statement of common sense gave birth to the idea of brand management. Marketers have been struggling to get their heads around it ever since.

Don't Tell My Folks I Work In Advertising
It’s a sad commentary when, in the midst of an economic meltdown, one’s chosen profession ranks below lawyers and bankers and even those working in whorehouses in terms of perceived ethics and honesty.

Why Great Salespeople Don't Always Make Great Marketers
Running your marketing as if it were just sales on a bigger scale may seem intuitively pleasing, but in practice it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete with this strategy. The best way to support sales is to ensure sales plays its role in the context of a complete marketing program.

5 DIY Marketing Careers
Web-based marketing is creating new marketing needs, and with new needs come new opportunities. Here are five DIY careers for experienced marketers who can write.

How to Turn Your Marketing Up To '11
Brands that master these four trends now will gain significant ground in 2011, and beyond. This year, it is the strategic use of online assets that will chart a course for the brands that will prevail by the time 2012 rolls around.

Advertising Agencies: Kiss Your Creative Teams Goodbye
Best of 2010 continues. Happy New Year.

The reason the creative team no longer works is because the right combination of words and images alone will no longer yield bountiful sales for the client.

Career Advice: Stop Listening to the Social Media Experts and Start Watching Andy Griffith
Marketing is in a state of flux. And in that state, the most valuable skills a marketer can bring to his employer are an open mind and willingness to change.

Marketers: Visit China Before China Visits You
This is not our parents' China. This is something else entirely.

Will the iPad Save Our Newspapers? Sorry, There’s Not an App for That.
Making a brand relevant in the digital age is not so much about understanding digital content distribution technology as it is about understanding the digital user.

The Absolute Best Way to Get More Value From Your Ad Agency
Having spent my entire adult life inside ad agencies, I know for a fact that the biggest asset any advertiser has is the enthusiasm of their ad agency.

Sorry, You Are Not a Marketing Professional (and Neither Am I)
Since I started in marketing, I’ve been amazed at our inability, as marketers, to communicate with one other effectively.

Job Interview 2.0: A Crash Course for Social Media Skeptics
As I’ve said before, it’s more likely that a good marketer can catch up on two or three years of social media developments than a social media expert can compensate for 20 or 30 years of missing marketing experience.

With So Many Specialized Agencies, Who Should Get Your Marketing Dollars?
Today, the various services that make up a marketing campaign are siloed among so many specialized players that one must ask who manages the big picture.

Why Your Brand Doesn't Need a Social Media Expert
The central issue is not how social media can change marketing. The real issue is how social media has already changed the people we market to. I'm not just talking about the way our customers view technology or communication.


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