It's Memorial Day weekend. The official start of the summer. Cookouts. Beer. Flip flops. Relaxation. Beer. Getting the boat on the lake. The first camp-out. Beer.
We always forget, though, the true intent of this holiday weekend: honoring Americans who lost their lives serving their country. I'm guilty. "Long weekend" enters the mind too often when "life sacrifice" should.
But I am thankful for my freedoms. I get to write for a great company. Have a great family. A great group of kids to coach in Little League.
Marketers can be thankful, too. Sure, it's a thankless job a lot of the time, but there is a lot to be thankful for as a marketer. We think so. Hence, here are five things we think marketers should be thankful for:
Thankful for Scott Brinker
What would marketers do without the intense study of the marketing software field by Scott Brinker? Scott puts out this great research and provides clarity to such a crowded landscape. It creates dialogue and brings things into perspective.
We've run into Scott at conferences, and he's always great to catch up with. For starting a healthy dialogue about the industry landscape, Scott deserves our thanks, for sure.
Thankful for (the Spread at) Partner Conferences
OK, let's admit: Companies make money off marketing partner conferences. They spend a lot, too. Did you catch Adobe's spread in Salt Lake? I did. Concerts, skiing, games, and the food. Man oh man. The food was outstanding. I had about five shrimp and grits cups. In the same day.
Of course, this is also a chance for the hosting provider to showcase its own offerings. That's clear. But it's also a nice way to keep the industry dialogue going and bounce ideas off colleagues and even competitors. Let's not forget how great these opportunities are to simply mingle and get better at what we do.
Thankful for Analysts
Who doesn't like a neutral party? We always get clear, industry input from folks like Scott Liewehr of Digital Clarity Group. It's just so great when you can go to someone for level-headed advice and input that's bereft of any sales pitch.
Of course, there's Gartner and Forrester, the big research firms that are paid to provide unbiased views. And smaller ones like Constellation Research with gems like R Ray Wang and Alan Lepofsky and Gleanster Research with Ian Michiels.
And we gotta give props to up-and-comers like G2 Crowd which aims to disrupt the Gartner Magic Quadrant. How can you not give a high-five to a company that brings user input to the forefront and, again, keeps the healthy industry dialogue going?
Thankful for PR Firms
How in the world would marketers and marketing software vendors ever get the word out about their great products without their press relations firms?
Seriously. There are some good ones out there. IBM's team at Text100 and OpenText's Weber Shandwick come to mind. ("Dom, what about us? And us?" I know, I know. I can't mention you all).
One thing, though, you marketers can tell your PR teams: Never start a quest-for-coverage email with, "Hello, Dom. Did you know 75 percent of marketers suffer from..." And, NEVER say your company is the "leading" provider of anything. No one leads anything.
How about coming out and saying, "Hey, Dom, this product kicks butt, is selling like crazy, and is innovative because no one else does this. Your readers will benefit because this affects their day-to-day business life in this way and that way."
That's an email I'm opening even on a crazy busy day.
Thankful for the Future
This is going to sound a bit contrived for an ending, but how cool is all the marketing technology in front of us? It's easy to say they all look the same -- and believe us, it's hard to distinguish vendors from one demo to the next -- but there's still a ton of innovation out there.
The behavioral marketing technology is pretty fascinating stuff. One-to-one marketing. Predicting a person's desires and targeting campaigns just for them. It's pretty cool watching all this innovation unfold. We're truly in the future now, and Robert Zemeckis' vision in the 1980s was pretty darn close.
So there you have it. On this Memorial Day, let's be thankful for whatever it is we're passionate about. Marketing. Little League. Writing. Coffee. Whatever.
And keep in mind those who sacrificed to help us realize these passions.