Careers and Callings

Lack of Lead Gen is a Symptom, Not a Disease

You're interviewing for a VP Marketing gig, and you're asked the question "Do You Do Lead Gen"?  And you begin to suspect that 1)this job is more low-level than it sounds and 2)yikes!this company does not value branding or marketing strategy.Content Messaging 
The suspicion may well be false.  Because in the overall scheme of marketing life, lack of lead gen is just a headache.  It's not a disease, it's a symptom of something much bigger.

The roundabout route that many Lead Gen discussions take is that there are little/no marketing programs in place, the sales team isn't armed and there's no way to measure the marketing to sales cycle.  Which can also mean: No clear, compelling value proposition, and no educational (vs. promotional) content. 

So there's no need to run when the lead gen question comes up.  It's part of a much bigger story and a much meatier assignment. 

And if Lead Gen is not part of your repertoire, you may miss the strategic conversation all together.

Talk About a Tough Crowd... Comedians Have to Be Tougher

At various points in my marketing career, I've been told "You shouldn't be in marketing, you should do stand-up".  I should have taken it as a compliment.  My conditional response to crisis situations is a clear head and a strong dose of humor -- how else to diffuse the stress?

But I believe stand-up is much harder than marketing.  You're lone and vulnerable, developing new material on the fly and trying it out in front of a tough crowd.  Serious stuff.  Marketing and Stand-Up do have commonalities -- coming up with original material, reading the crowd, engaging them with your story...  So perhaps the unsolicited career advice I received wasn't such a stretch.

So how to learn from stand-up without the stress?   Listen to this CD: 

Fresh_air_laughs_2 Terry Gross is one of my favorite radio personalities. Perhaps it's her steady, open-minded, compassion that comes through over the airwaves, but she sounds like she could be anybody's, (or everybody's) best friend.   Fresh Air Laughs includes her interviews with Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Henny Youngman, Phyllis Diller, Bob Newhart and others.  It's a great study in toughness and creativity under pressure, and although it has its share of chuckles, you're more likely to walk away with inspiration than a stitch in your side...