31: Mark Schaefer: The Marketing Rebellion

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On this episode of The Manage Your Message Podcast host Jim Karrh speaks with Mark Schaefer—a consultant, speaker, and multi-bestselling author. Mark is also co-host of the popular podcast The Marketing Companion, and author of the new book Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins.

Jim and Mark started with a question on the genesis of the new book. Mark said he kept hearing corporate marketing leaders say they’re “stuck,” or that “marketing isn’t working the way it used to.” It seemed time for a fundamentally different view of marketing and advertising.

Mark’s original idea for the book was to address marketers’ use of technology. Over time, he realized that the problem wasn’t about technology, but rather that “We lost sight of where our customers are.” Mark then changed the focus of his research for the book. He came to see that we are in the third major consumer rebellion: the first was “against lies,” the second was “against secrets,” and the current rebellion is “against control.”

Mark emphasizes that the book is not just his opinion but rather “based on take-it-to-the-bank research…let people make their own decisions, but we need to re-imagine messaging in this new world.”

Among the major topics Jim asked Mark about included community and technology. When it comes to the idea of communities around brands, Mark admitted to some skepticism originally. Now he sees that there are companies creating a space that makes real community possible.

Technology has come to, unfortunately, define much of modern marketing. Mark’s experience is that it’s impossible for marketing leaders to keep up—which is causing a lot of anxiety and stress. Mark asserted that 80 percent of marketers don’t understand the tech stack they have today. The answer is to put technology in the service of customers—reducing barriers between people, rather than adding friction or frustration.

Jim also asked Mark about his podcast (The Marketing Companion) and even the origin of the name. Mark said that he and his original co-host wanted to be known as companions, rather than asserting themselves as “experts” or “gurus.” As Mark put it, “The answer to every marketing question is ‘It depends’…I want to offer guidelines and options.”


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