When I grow up (or why I work in Marketing)

I’m a marketing guy. I never really wanted to be a marketing guy. When I was a kid I wanted to be Bat-Man. Later, I wanted to be a comic book artist, but I wasn’t that good. Then I wanted to be a singer/guitar player in an indie-rock band, but I wasn’t that good. And then I wanted to be a writer (I’m still working on that).

So, like many aspiring writers I worked my way into the book business. And, now I work for this media company that produces books (and lots of other things) for writers. Some days, as a marketer, involve sitting in front of spreadsheets and being bombarded with emails about budgets, reforecasts, revenue goals and other things that make my stomach churn. But, other days I get to collaborate with a creative team of editors and designers to figure out the best ways to communicate with writers and create things that are helpful, informative, fun, smart and cool. Now, those are the days that make it something worth doing.

If you’re wondering what it’s like working for a book publisher–and I’m guessing maybe that’s why you’re reading this blog–then here’s the short version (from my point of view). It’s scary. Publishing is in the midst of an identity crisis where the scramble to find new ways to be profitable is paramount. The focus is on new media, and a culture that was once banded together simply by love of the printed word has to reinvent itself. But, at the same time all of this change allows us to be more honest. We can do more than just create a new book or magazine or video and then run an advertisement to tell you how good it is. We have a chance to have an open dialogue with our audience. To openly talk about what we’re trying to do and why we’re doing the things we do. Like I’m doing now.

I’m a marketing guy who doesn’t like to talk about money. I’m not in the job because I want to generate tons of revenue for some shareholder somewhere who doesn’t know that I always wanted to be Bat-Man. I do the work that I do because I believe that the things we produce, whether they are books or downloads are educating or entertaining people.

The people I work with on a daily basis are smart, passionate, creative, funny, and genuinely good people. I’m invested in this business because of them. And if someone asks me why they should buy one of our products, then I can answer without an ounce of smarmy salesmanship that it’s because I know that the people who created it really care about what they are doing. They care about their audience and have put together the best book, magazine, CD, webinar, download, video, or whatever-the-heck-else they possibly could have. Who wouldn’t want to buy something like that?

(check out my “marketing for writers” blog… it’s called The M-Word)

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1 Response to “When I grow up (or why I work in Marketing)”


  1. 1 laurenmosko September 24, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Well said, Scott. It’s easy for us all to get bogged down in revenue goals and content digitization, but I think one of the unique things about the publishing business is that–at its core–the people who do the actual work do it because they are artists and in love with literature and dedicated to producing something that inspires them and that others will also be inspired by. It’s hard to hold a book or magazine and imaging having a similar connection with a CD or a PDF, but it’s a little easier if you focus instead on the hearts and minds that went into creating it.


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