10 Things I Want To See Marketing Departments Do...Sooner Rather Than Later.

My first and only job in high school was teaching people how to put contact lenses into their eyeballs. My first internship in New York had me zipping between Brooklyn to the Lower East Side carrying everything from vases of flowers that weighed more than me and important marketing materials for the feminist icon Gloria Steinem. My second internship in New York was me working for a journalist turned Internet sensation who ate a lot of dates (she had serious poop problems) and she would send me on errands to pick up head bands and designer dressers for whatever event she was going to that night. My first job out of college was me sitting in a cubicle copywriting about coffee for 8 hours a day.

And then I got my big break. A once in a lifetime opportunity. A random Craigslist ad said “Small publishing house looking for a marketing assistant” and well, the rest is history — I was hired as a marketing assistant and quickly promoted to marketing manager for what is now known as one of the world’s best selling children’s products: The Elf on the Shelf.

elfontheshelf.png

Since then, I feel like I’ve seen it all. The good, the bad. Agency life. In-house life. A former cult meets ashram turned retreat. I’ve seen incredible teams with high energy and excitement and I’ve seen teams that were nothing but shells sitting under flickering fluorescent lights. And of course, I’ve experience firsthand of what it’s like to work for myself — I’ve done it successfully for the last two years.

I constantly get the question from younger, smarter marketers asking me “Where do you see marketing departments heading in the next few years?” And while I could give the usual “Digital! Social! Virtual reality! Content, content, content!” rallying cry — I’ve truly started to ask myself about where I see marketing agencies and in-house marketing teams headed.

So here is my list you didn’t ask for but definitely need to read:

Women dominating conference tables, director positions, and key decision making roles.

IMG_6481.jpeg

It’s time. It’s 2019. Throw out #MeToo and #TimesUp — this has nothing to do with it (do not think for a second I’m discounting the sexual harassment women have endured in the workplace though). What I’m talking about is badass women owning their expertise and not being held back because they have boobs or wear violet pant suits or want to have families. I want to see marketing adapt to women and our unique brains and ways of thinking and bend to us for a change. I want to see intersectionality applied to every conference table in America. Beyonce sings “Ok ladies, now let’s get in formation.” We’re already in formation. It’s these corporate offices that need to listen to Bey and get in formation if they truly want to move forward.

Shhh….baby boomers.

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 1.23.03 AM.png

I’m so tired of hearing how millennials are killing this and that. I’m tired of baby boomers using the word millennial as a derogatory term. I’m tired of baby boomers trying to quote whatever latest headline they read about millennials and avocados and spinning it into some Wall Street is going to collapse, oh my god how will we survive nightmare. Baby boomers, get used to millennials — we’ve certainly become used to you (especially when you need help converting a Word doc into a PDF).

Throw some color around.

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 1.32.39 AM.png

Maybe it’s my love for Taylor Swift or my obsession with the color violet, but I think marketing departments need to give into adding a little sunshine, a little sparkle, a little pizzazz on their floors and amongst their teams. A little glitter never hurt anyone. In fact, shiny things like glitter remind people of water (I have the data to back it up) and water is known for its calming effects. Listen, I’m not asking for a rainbow to throw up in every marketing office across the nation but I’m just saying … a little buttercup yellow never hurt anyone.

SEO is for EVERYONE.

unciornSEO.jpg


Yeah, I said it — SEO is for everyone. Whether you’re a webmaster, a social media strategist, a content creator, an Account Director, or an editor … everyone should be on board with the basic understanding of what SEO can do for a brand on the world wide web. I want SEO to be a part of the discussion, not just some side discussion with a few key people. I want long tail keywords and short keywords to have their moment to shine when it comes to digital work. And most of all, I want everyone to have a tab open every day on their laptop to Answer the Public because it’s one of the most invaluable tools I’ve discovered in the last year.

Dogs.

8829_preview.jpg

Every office should develop a dog friendly policy. Whether it’s dog friendly Wednesday or an everyday thing, the best marketing offices should have dogs roaming around like the good employees they are. I want my dogs in my office. I want someone’s random dog in my lap. I want dogs to run offices because they already run the world, right? But seriously — dogs are too pure for this world and between their silly antics, kindness, and unconditional love, they are the perfect antidote to working under fluorescent lights.

Shine Theory.



Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 1.52.21 AM.png

If you’re not familiar with the Shine Theory, step into my office and listen up. Shine Theory is the practice of mutual investment with the simplest premise that “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” Shine theory is a commitment to collaborating instead of competing. I want to see Account Directors and Creative Directors leading together with the Shine Theory in mind. I want unique brains to collide and collaborate. I don’t want marketing agencies to operate in silos. Let’s cross over. Let’s make sure everyone is shining.

Just say no to Christmas cookies.



uglychristmascookiesnotinoffice.png

Maybe I’m alone in this but for fucks sake, companies — it’s time to eliminate holiday cookie parties. Listen, I’m sorry but I don’t need to stuff myself with 26 cookies and then vote on my favorite to celebrate the holiday season with my coworkers. Let’s move past this atrocity. Let’s just do a donut breakfast. Let’s just drink some champagne. Let’s leave the cookies for your neighborhood gathering.

1, 2, 3 … blast off!



Screen+Shot+2019-05-01+at+1.56.03+AM.jpg

Marketing teams - big or small - should be set up for success like they are about to go on a top secret journey to space for NASA. If teams feel like they have momentum, energy, and synergy to achieve their goals — it doesn’t just motivate them, but it makes them feel like they are a part of something bigger, something exciting. Instead of creating cubicle environments and chalk walks or buying a pinball machine for the office, give teams the impression that what they are doing is as important as launching a rocket...even if it’s just a Facebook ad campaign. Let employees float out in outer space as they work together on a common goal.

Content touches everything.

contentisking.png

In the Lion King when Simba is told that everything the light touches is his — he ooes and awws over how massive the land is. Marketing agencies and internal teams need to look at content as the sun and know it’s going to touch everything. While a lot of companies have “Content Managers,” those roles cannot work alone. Whether they are getting strategy from someone else or working with a video producer, a true understanding that content has to be fluid in its creation is mandatory for success. Most agencies and internal departments aren’t operating like this and well, that’s why their content sucks.

So, with all that being said … do I expect marketing agencies and internal marketing companies to check all these boxes? No. But should they...eventually? Yes. If they care about the work they are doing and their employees and want to keep moving forward in the work they do and as a company itself— why not throw a little glitter or Shine Theory into the mix?





Yes, Instagram Should Get Rid of Likes

Rumor has it, Instagram is contemplating getting rid of likes. That noise you’re hearing right now is me screaming at the top of my lungs, “Hell fucking yeah.” 

Screen Shot 2019-04-21 at 11.15.46 PM.png

I love Instagram. In fact, it’s my favorite social media platform but as a social media strategist — I am constantly frustrated with the incessant obsession over what value an Instagram like actually brings to a client (or even a personal account). 

Solopreneurs, small business owners, and Fortune 500 marketing teams are always asking me the same questions: 

  • “Charlsie, how come we only got 2,000 on that last post? Shouldn’t we be getting more since we have 12,000 followers?” 

  • “How come the post on Thursday only had 40 likes? 

  • “Should we buy followers to get more likes on our posts?” 

Likes, likes, likes — it’s all client’s ever think about and while it’s a metric that has been put on a pedestal, it’s time for it to go away. 

TaylorSwiftInstagramLikes

Instagram shouldn’t just be about the number of likes a post has on it (or even the follower count). Unless you’re Taylor Swift (Taylor, if you’re reading this - call me) and you’re rocking an average of 1.6 million likes per picture — likes shouldn’t be at the top of the social strategy food chain for any brand trying to make social waves. 

Quality content should be the driving force behind any and every Instagram post, including what is shared in Instagram stories (if you’re a brand and you aren’t using Instagram stories to talk to your audience — we need to talk). Having a kickass social content strategy for Instagram and producing one-of-a-kind, unique content that aligns with your brand will naturally help produce the likes that brands so badly desire.

Screen Shot 2019-04-21 at 11.04.01 PM.png

Working with social strategists to produce meaningful content strategies and brand specific content is the key to not only upscaling your social presence but authentically connecting with those that already resonate and hold a relationship with your brand (or could potentially form a relationship with your brand). 

Yes, if this potential hiding of likes passes on Instagram, influencers and celebrities are going to be pissed but in the digital age — we have to adapt to what’s best for each platform as it grows and expands and it sounds like Instagram has the same stance as social strategists everywhere: “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.” 

As my client’s know - it’s all about strong content. So for those worried about Instagram potentially taking likes away, I raise you this question — are you afraid your content isn’t enough to speak for itself? If so, your priorities are all wrong and it’s time to reevaluate. 

Look at this potential Instagram change as a challenge worth accepting and showing your brand profile (or even your personal one) who’s boss.

Why You Should Become A Hashtag Minimalist


Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 1.01.15 PM.png


I’m not a psychic, but I do like to make predictions especially of the social media kind. With 2019 right around the corner (literally, I can see it if I stick my neck out enough), one major trend that is abundantly clear is that in the New Year the way we use hashtags is going to change.

2019 is going to become the year of hashtag minimalism.

Everyone (and I mean everyone) is always talking about hashtags: Are hashtags important in a social media strategy? Are hashtags necessary? Are hashtags effective on Facebook? Are hashtags key to getting views on an Instagram page? While all these questions are relevant and important, it’s time we take a step back and ask the one question that matters most: “What hashtags actually make sense?”

Yes, Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post but that doesn’t mean every photo needs 30 hashtags. While lifestyle bloggers and influencers love to hashtag the hell out of everything (#awesome #yas #cool #supercalifragilisticexpialidocious), the majority of brands utilizing Instagram have taken a step back from the hashtag game — sticking to simple or branded hashtags exclusively. Here, take a look at Madewell:

FullSizeRender-5.jpeg


Madewell could easily go on a hashtag frenzy of #shoes, #ihavethisthingwithfloors, #shoeporn, #mules, #winterwhite, #fashion, #madewellshoes, #shoesshoesshoes, etc. but they stuck with a very simple (and clever) #wellheeled. Classic, just like the shoes themselves.

It’s clear that Madewell, like the overall brand itself, wants its social media strategy clean, simple, and sharply unique. Check out this example:

FullSizeRender-3 2.jpeg

Again, Madewell could have gone crazy with #sweaterweather and #turtleneck hashtags but they kept it simple with their branded hashtag #everydaymadewell.

While we’ve seen brands on Instagram take the “more the merrier” hashtag approach for a few years, it’s refreshing to see the “less is more” adage swinging back into action. Whether you’re a small business, a B2B company, or a large brand scaling upwards — adding the “less is more” hashtag philosophy into your social strategy is not only a way to show you understand social media trends but it’s a way to truly connect with your audience.

Let’s be real...trying to find 30 hashtags to describe one Instagram photo can seem a bit extra. Consumers want extra in the form of memes, gifs, and reality shows — not 30 words, give or take, on a photo they are likely to scroll past at a very fast pace.

Throughout 2018, Target has become an exceptional social media hashtag minimalist and an incredible user of crowdsourced content. Check out these recent holiday posts:

FullSizeRender-2.jpeg
FullSizeRender-4.jpeg

Forgoing wild hashtags and extra phrases, Target is keeping it simple with hashtags such as #ChristmasEve and #HolidayDecor. Instead of relying on hashtags to amplify its products, Target has flipped the switch on hashtag usage and replaced it with real photos taken by real Target consumers (many with very large audiences).

Yes, Target may have 3.4 million Instagram followers but when they are regramming photos from consumers — it sends the message that not only is Target invested in its consumers but it values the content they are producing.

While you may be thinking, “But Target and Madewell are huge brands and I’m a local business, does this actually apply to me?” Consider this advice and take it to heart — no one is going to ever finger point to your success (or lack of social media success) from hashtags alone. Hashtags are not the end all, be all social media magic trick — they are a piece of a social media strategy that should constantly be looked at and considered as ever changing as social media itself.