Marty Weintraub, triumphant, holding aloft a half-metre monster fish, stares down at us from his Big Digital Adelaide keynote slidedeck.
At that moment it is the equivalent of a Formula One racer pulling up the handbrake while going full speed down a freeway. “This is my game face. Are you ready? Let’s take a breath. Think of something beautiful. Here we go.” And just like that Marty hits max rpm again pushing our brains deeper and deeper into the world of Psychographics at break neck speed.
As the information pours out of him we learn why The Minnesota Business Magazine included him in The (Real) Power 50. He knows his shit. After lifting his company Aimclear to the top of the digital marketing heap, Marty now travels the world like a marketing messiah daring us to try and keep up.
Marty: Those were the early days. I believe this is the ninth time in ten years I’ve been here. I haven’t been every year, though there were a couple of years I came twice.
Woj: Wow. What’s been the most memorable experience you’ve had in Australia?
Marty: Well, doing this interview with you, of course. No, that’s too cheeky.
I’ll start that one again. Well, I would say it was this visit. Recently, I’ve gotten very into time-exposure photography and I got up at the crack of dawn, went way out on a point in the Botanical Gardens in Sydney, and took time-exposure pictures of the Central Business District and the Opera House. So, every single time I come here is the best time I’ve ever been to Australia.
5:45 AM, gorgeous sunrise from cliffside perch at Sydney Botanical Gardens, high atop famed Mother Macquarie’s Chair pic.twitter.com/iCazQzoa6G
— martyweintraub (@martyweintraub) May 2, 2017
Woj: Aimclear was founded in 2006, not long after Facebook started.
Can you talk about the origins of the company and why you decided to launch it?
Marty: Well, I’m a musician by trade, first. If you google Marty Weintraub Rockstar, you’ll see some compromising pictures of me and a lot of hair.
Credit: Aimclear blog
That was the middle 80s. That led to a wonderful career making commercial music like jingles and soundtracks for industrial films. Then I started recording dolphins and loons and wolves and other animals in the wild and setting those sounds to music. And I got a pretty big record deal in the late 80s and did 12 CDs that blended nature sounds and music.
That led me to the pristine wilderness of Minnesota. It’s an amazing place to be, just very gorgeous.
On Lake Superior I transitioned to be creative director of a television station in the area. They hired me and that turned into being creative director for a number of television stations. And this was the dawn of the 90s.
I literally registered the domains for all these TV stations, made their first website. Those years I did the news music, =news animation, the background for the weather, I made the website with Adobe PageMill and helped broker a deal between the CBS stations that I worked for and Knight Ridder newspapers.
And so, in the mid 90s when everyone else was just beginning to think about the World Wide Web from a commercial perspective, I had the television news and big newspapers to play with so we could say, “Hey, go check out the rest of it on the website,” or on the website, you could say, “Hey, go check out the rest of it in the newspaper.”
The big transition for me was that I had audiences a long time before anybody else did. So I could measure them using web stats. I believe in log files.
In time I helped found the “interactive” division of a venerable regional advertising agency in northern Minnesota. And just one thing led to another and by the time 2007 came along, I founded an agency.
Of course, the crucible for me was in 2005. I was diagnosed with stage IIIB Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. And my employer at the time told me I did not need to go to the office anymore just so long as I did their PPC ads until I died.
That led to Aimclear.
The first clients were very small and they became large soon afterwards. I went to work in our office on January 1st, 2007, and by 2008 we were bringing Martha Stewart to Facebook ads, and by 2009 we were working with the Washington Post. By 2010, we were working on companies like Siemens and other really major corporations. So it just took off like being shot out of a cannon.
Woj: Is a big part of Aimclear’s strategy to get people talking around the world and educating people and then as a result, the client base grows?
Marty: I’d like to say that that was an immediate plan. Like: we’re going to do thought leadership, we’re going to get out there, we’re going to become known.
It was more authentic than that. I was so turned on by keyword targeting in the 2007/2008 territory, that I was just driven. I started going to conferences like Search Engine Strategies and Pubcon and SMX and other conferences around the world. And I was so excited I just wanted to share.
And I started writing a lot about it, I started the blog in 2007. I could not have envisioned what all that would mean to us. I will say that we owe a lot to Manny Rivas, who is now our CMO and just an incredibly talented marketer. Aimclear won best Large Integrated Agency at the U.S. Search Awards and the case studies were all Manny’s.
Merry Morund deserves a lot of credit too, she is simply one of the best in the world. She is the best in the world. We do things with her like send her to Copenhagen to train eBay, or Munich to train LinkedIn, their staff. Merry and I have done over 40 trainings around the world including a number here in Australia. They’ve been with me nearly from the beginning. They started in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Now Aimclear has seven speakers, they travel all over speaking.
A key to that is usually when you’re building a company, conventional wisdom says you partition the knowledge and the relationships, so that no single employee could leave, take clients and reproduce the secret sauce. To the contrary, what we have done is we’ve turned our relationships over to the employees from the very beginning. We’ve made them representatives and empowered them.
In the early days, it was a great big room with all of us sitting around and them needing headphones to tune me out talking on the phone or to another person, except when they wanted to crack it off their ear just a little bit. And so our training was by being in the soup together.
So I’d like to say that it was a strategy where we went, “Oh, yes, we’re going to be thought leaders, we’re going to do inbound marketing, we’re going to blog and then people are gonna find out about us and call us and hire us.”
Mostly it was just the kind of passion that can propel a lifetime or a career where if I reverse engineer it, I can go, “Yeah, we did it all with a plan, we did it all with conference appearances.” But in reality, we were just out there being honest and passionate about the world.
Woj: In a way, because you’re empowering everyone, it’s almost like they’re running their own small businesses within the business; they’re doing their own thing and they’re kicking ass.
Marty: It’s been an interesting challenge with that sort of business within a business mentality. It’s hard to build processes that allow an agency to scale. It’s a fine line between silo-thought leadership and running businesses inside a business and having a cluster f$#king agency.
Woj: What were the difference of degrees of difficulty you faced at different moments of scaling the business?
Marty: First, a company is like a family. Every child, every next child is born into a different family. And every company is that company for that size and we’re tremendous at different sizes.
Like we were the most kick-ass six-person company you’ve ever seen. Twelve was amazing and 16 was a challenge. And as we grew through 20, we began to have middle management and that made it very difficult. I, myself, I’m very good in a work group, like put me around the table with seven other people and we will take over the world.
As soon as we begin delegating, then it’s subject to other people’s styles and subject to other people’s interpretations of what marketing should be. I’d say that in the early days, we were very good at marketing but a little inconsistent. It was possible to be amazing and possible to make mistakes. So, as we got larger, I would say we became somewhat homogenised but more reliable.
And now, at the 10-year mark, we’re just really an amazing marketing company and we’re extremely reliable.
We should note that I’m largely removed from the process. The company treats me more like a consultant. Manny is CMO, we have a CTO and we have a CEO and they run the company and I’m sort of like a consultant for the marketing issues. What I would say is what I tell our staff.
Just keep in mind that on any given day, anybody can completely suck, especially me. And on any given day, anybody can change the world, like impact how marketers do things all over the world, especially me.
As long as we keep that Tao in mind, that peculiar Ying and Yang, it’s about being a thought leader if you will, then we’re good.
At what point did you step back from the operations side?
Marty: I was the integrator in the early days. When it was only me I had to do it.
I’ve never been good at operations. Not ever, and each next person that was hired, I literally put a shoebox to sit on their desk and I went, “You answer the phones, you be president now.” There’s six people who still work at Aimclear who were part of that original 10-person group. They literally run the company.
Woj: So they formed the structure and they ran with it?
Marty: Yeah. It’s important during business to ruthlessly fill in gaps of your own. I could tell you what I’m good at and I could tell you what I shouldn’t be left in charge of. I’ve rigorously sought out what I’m not good at and hired other people to fill that in. When we hit 25 people, I did step away and hired someone to kind of be in charge and it didn’t work, he almost crushed the business. He was a person who wasn’t a very good fit, I didn’t exactly know how to delegate and I needed to come back. And that was an external hire, a shiny object for us.
And now, my belief is that you elevate the people who have come through the culture the whole time to help run it.
And I know other people who are extremely skilled at operations and extremely skilled at the vision piece. It’s the old conundrum. What’s more important in a company, the vision or the operations, vision or execution?
Some people say that a vision is what rules and the execution can be purchased, it’s a dime a dozen. Other people say that vision is a dime a dozen, there’s a million geniuses who can’t get anything done and the execution is golden and rare.
I’ve come to the belief that vision & execution are both crucial and what’s most important is to understand your personal strengths and liabilities.
Why is it important for Aimclear to focus on we, us and our, not me, my and I, in relation to culture and do you hire and fire by this notion?
Marty: The answer to the latter is we definitely hire for it and, yes, we have fired for it, yes we have. At first, it was a fairly calculated endeavor because I can be arrogant, I’m a recovering narcissist, I’m better now. I’m not like one of those Silicon Valley warlords. I like to say that I’m 8.3% tyrant and all.
In the beginning it was pretty formulaic. When I started Aimclear blog in January of 2007, I did phrase density analysis on top blogs in the industry. Search Engine Watch, Lee Odden’s TopRank blog, Rand Fishkin’s writings and a half a dozen others. And then, I extracted all the pronouns and looked at phase density, and I figured out that there’s an art to looking like more than you are.
If you say we, I, our when you’re only one person it implies a greater organisation. So, literally, at first we did it so we would look like it was more than I, and it was highly effective.
I just believe that how you represent yourself by pronouns is all about brand. Even now, if I’m congratulated about something, I’ll say, “Well, that award is completely on the backs of the amazing people that worked for us.” It came kind of grudging. It’s sort of like in some 12-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, they say “fake it till you make it.” I emerged from my teen years as a rather brash young man that got into trouble with people with my arrogance.
And so, when I first did this and the writing, it was because that’s what’s gonna make us look larger, that’s what’s gonna make us appear to be magnanimous. Well, the joke was on me.
Because after a while, I just really began to understand that success is about crediting your team when things go amazing and it’s about me when things go wrong. I learned to take a bullet for the company.
It started out as, I wouldn’t say dishonest in any way, but it was calculated. I wanted to build a brand and an agency that would seem ubiquitous, that would seem larger where a lot of times if people are left to their imagination, they’ll assume something that is greater than it actually is.
And then, as the company grew and I understood the awesome, awesome responsibility of being in charge of families’ incomes and our employees and our clients work and all that.
It just really began to set in that what was important in the company was us. So, it started out in a rather calculated way and turned into something that was life-changing for me. Now, I actually enjoy something of a peace, a measure of humility.
Woj: And it’s so encouraging and welcoming, as well. I’ve found especially when you pitch to clients you have to use that language because it makes everyone part of the team.
Marty: Yeah, now at this stage in my career as I get closer to the end of my career, at least in the marketing world, the staff has encouraged me over time to just take a little credit, just enjoy it. Now the irony is that after all those years of really coming to believe that I was one of the least important components of the greater success story, now I understand the firm with the client and I say, “I just think that that really sucks.”
It’s like having a herd of elephants thundering through the room, everyone’s mouths gape and they go, “Wow, Marty just said that he…,” like ironically, the best way to claim the authority that you will grow into is by relinquishing your ad to the power of others to impact the outcome. It was really profound for me, it’s made me a much happier person.
Woj: True. I can see that. Finding those audience insights is key to many of our successes.
Can you provide me with an updated breakdown of psychographic targeting?
Marty: Psychographics are interest, affinities, proclivities, biases, occupational psychographics like where you work, how much you make, peccadilloes, weird shit.
It’s selling pizza delivery to people in London who are smoking weed at night. Or mini vans to pregnant couples, or chapstick to ski instructors, or mortgages to people who live in a home that they’re overqualified for by their income.
And they’re also into home flipping shows or HDTV. Psychographics traditionally, it’s funny to say traditionally but Facebook’s ad platform has been out since 2007.
Suffice to say that Facebook ads platform in 2007 was dramatically more advanced than Google’s display network at the time, which was a stinking money pit of mediocrity and lack of success for marketers. Like, top five ways to accidentally blow off 30 grand in one afternoon in a display network, right? Social targeting is where the genesis of psychographic targeting occurred. Now it’s really interesting because you can look at Google psychographic data, their Intender data and their affinity audiences.
Woj: Could you define intender data for the folks at home?
Marty: Yeah. It’s data that indicates someone is going to buy something. Google calls it inMarket, but some of the rest of the world calls it intender data.
What’s really interesting is where does it cross the line into search. Do you think Google uses query data and fingering people in their intent to purchase something? Well, damn straight. But I’m not doing it by choosing “best car hire Adelaide.” I’m not doing it by that, I’ll just go into the audience and if such an object is available here, I would say they intend to buy a car or rent a car, or lease a car, or whatever it is.
So, long after I’m gone and they dig this thing up from the time vault, then we’ll predict right now that it’s all gonna kinda come together.
Query keywords are kind of going away. Google has tried for years to get rid of keywords and they’re kind of succeeding. Because what do I wanna do? Do I wanna find a search spectrum of mid-tail modified broad match roots with negative keyword data? Or do I just wanna press a button and say they’re gonna buy a freaking luxury SUV? So, the objects are becoming more complex. The reason Facebook data doesn’t include so much queries is because they’re not a search engine, even though they are actually one of the world’s largest search engines by numbers.
Does Facebook include Query data in their psychographic targeting? I would have to say, yes, but they’re not nearly as robust in their implementation as Google. Does Google include behavioral data in their psychographic targeting objects? Well, yes, they have Google Analytics and they see so many websites and plus, how many people are logged into Gmail all the time? Or whatever Google service or YouTube?
So, psychographic data is where engines, platforms, community, networks etc. collect data on you from anything they have a strength that form an opinion in a taxonomy of what you’re susceptible for marketers. I would look to a future where there’s minimal search. Keywords, minimal and we’re doing it all. I would look to a future where we don’t even need marketers to do that.
Marty: So funny. It’s funny. I keynoted a conference in Las Vegas a couple of years ago and I was in a room with like 250 people and I said, “How many people here buy Adwords?” Like no hands. “How many people here have their own website?” Like no hands. And I’m going, “Well, what do you do?” And they are all dependent on Shopify and Amazon and eBay stores and these other platforms. And the reason I mention this is:
Basically, as that evolves, marketers are being turned into moderately paid affiliate drones.
So, marketing kind of – because of the whole Amazon thing – is about feeding the machine and not creativity. It will be interesting to see how Amazon’s foray into paid search platform inside Amazon is going to resolve. I’m not positive what our role is as marketers will be a result.
I think that by 2018 or so, more than 20% of business and commercial content will be written by machines and will be better. The trouble for AI machine learning right now is, say I wanna sell a widget. And I just wanna push a button and I have a webpage. I could go to Google DSA and Conversion Optimiser and put it together; and it just makes up everything: the targeting, the creative. And in some cases, arguably between 15% and 20% of the cases according to Google’s publish case study data, that major portfolios are eliminating the marketing function where DSA works. Dial in Conversion Optimiser and you have a complete unmarketing system.
The trouble for the other 80% is, if I have a webpage over there and I just wanna push a button and sell it, there is not enough creative data out there.
Because what Google or any platform could do is they could take the sum total of human knowledge, dating back from books in the 1800s through trends that began in like 2004 and it could say, “Well, let’s take these words and put it together.” There’s not enough data in the world and there’s not enough search inventory for machines to just completely make up everything. That’s what we’re for, for the next five to eight years.
Because basically, what we’re doing is inputting snippets into the machine. The machine is learning what works for what audiences, what applications and what combinations of words on the destination page. And we’re being sucked dry.
Right now, what marketers are doing is providing the creative input to the machine to know so that in a decade we’re not needed for creativity. Because most creativity will have occurred. We’ll know what works. That the way to stay in business right now is to focus on creative and targeting, and just know that you’re being ripped off as you go. You will be assimilated, resistance is futile.
Woj: So just to that point, do you think the machines will fabricate searches, so they have more data to play with?
Woj: So it’s gonna be like a ridiculous cycle, just data. We are literally going to be on Skynet.
Marty: Yeah. Skynet. I will have the good fortune to do a keynote in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for an organization called Minnesota Search, and I’ll be doing co-keynote with Michelle Robins who is the webmaster for Danny Sullivan and Third Door Media. And the keynote is about this very topic. She’s going to play the machine, I’m going to play the poor human and we’re going to role play; so it should be very exciting.
Woj: I guess with all the discussion about platforms, your previous role in the music industry obviously gave you some PR and journalism experience.
How has that helped shape you kind of not being too dependent on the platforms and the machines?
Marty: That would be like a musician who is dependent on a guitar channel or a brand of guitar. First, I’m a marketer that uses Facebook and Google and LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter etc.
I’ll tell you a quick story. In the mid-80s, when making your own CD first came to prominence. It was a big deal. I figured out that if I spent $5,000 for a CD burner and I figured out how to do it – which is quite a steep learning curve – I could go to these advertising agencies that wanted to make demos or musicians and I could charge $70 to make a CD. That was pretty cool, like the first year I probably made 30,000 USD.
The second year, I probably made 45,000 USD and I made my reputation through ad agencies and musicians. Because I was the only one who was doing that. And I got a second machine, then because I stayed attuned to the technical publications, I realised that Hewlett-Packard was about to release a $1,200 CD burner and everyone was gonna have it.
And this business I had was obsolete. So before it happened, I went to all my clients and said, “For $3,000, I’ll help you buy the next generation of machine and I’ll teach you how to do it.” And I made $60,000 the next year and then my service was obsolete that year. I’ve replayed that over and over and over again.
Anyway, what I learned from being a musician was never to specialise on the technology, or platform; but to specialise in understanding what they were and understanding the life cycle and where business is or agencies or bands were running around going, “What the f$#k, what do I do?”
So the main thing I learned from being a musician was to never get locked into what we are in this generation, but to specialise in whatever is next. Because no matter how obsolete any business or technical environment renders any practitioner, you’re never obsolete if what you’re specialising in is understanding what makes people obsolete and where companies are scared.
When I was in college at Berklee College of Music in the 70s in Boston, I learned to use ARP Odyssey analog synthesizers and 2600 with a synthesizer that had patch-cords. And I remember my music professor saying, “What you’re doing here is not important. Understanding how you figure out what’s happening is the important part. So take this as an analogy for how you learn something.” I would say that if right now I was focused on ARP 2600 patch-cord synthesizers, I wouldn’t have a job. Maybe curator of a museum or something.
But since I learned how to learn, I’ve discovered that if you’re an agency you shouldn’t focus on any single platform or discipline. Single discipline agencies are already dead. If you only do SEO, if you only do paid search, if you only do Facebook, if you only do content, if you only do one thing, you’re all done.
Woj: That’s good. We’re totally agnostic. We’re solution-focused.
Marty: I’m a marketer that uses channels, not a channel that marketers use.
Woj: This is probably the perfect time to ask you music-related hypothetical question. You’re in a beatnik band called Facebook Em Daddy-O.
Who are the other four marketers that make up the band?
Marty: Michael King. Michael King is a wonderful musician. Manny Rivas from our shop is a cool bass player and rapper dude. Do they need to be marketers? Who else would I choose? David Szetela, who is a pay per click guy and a massive weekend warrior guitar player. I don’t know the fourth one.
Woj: We’ll probably need to find a drummer. Are there any drummer marketers out there?
Marty: What do we need drummers for? We have computers. Just kidding. Just kidding.
What can marketers learn from the wonderful world of dolphins?
Marty: That authenticity will bite you no matter where you start.
If you remember the story I shared earlier about doing phrase density of pronouns, it started out as something that was a little bit contrived. Like I wanted to understand how we could put a brand out there that seemed bigger. Because otherwise, there would be no way to score these massive clients we were scoring at the time. And I really got to say, so it started out as somewhat contrived and then it changed my life.
The dolphin projects were the same way.
In 1993, I got a pretty large record deal with a company that was recording these nature CDs and I did five of them. And the most famous ones of which we sold over a million were about swimming with dolphins. The recording I got the record deal with was not of dolphins, it was of wolves and other nature sounds from the Canadian wilderness. I had been recording with early stereo parabolic dishes. And they said, “Well, we’d like to sign you to do three records. What would you like to do?” So I thought about it then I went, if I do dolphins I’ll be so freaking rich.
People just love dolphins and so I thought “Wow, in order to make it more successful, let’s donate a percentage of every CD sold to marine-mammal support things. So, it was rather contrived. I contacted major aquariums in America, from Key Marathon, Florida, to Baltimore or to Minneapolis and arranged to bring hydrophones and recorded dolphins underwater making their sounds because I needed sounds and I was gonna get rich making dolphin records.
The very first session was at the Minnesota zoo where there is a fabulous aquarium facility today. And I happened to be in the water as a dolphin was giving birth. And I’m watching this and I’m going, “Oh, my God.”
I was fighting back tears because it was so incredible the way she was swimming around and then I just went, “Joke’s on me.”
Then later on, I was in a semi-wild pen in Key Marathon, Florida, amongst a number of people in chest-high water in a fairly large pool where there is a fence way far out and dolphins were in the semi wild. And I saw a dolphin thread her way through all the people right up to the five-year-old kid that had a tumor, cancer, and noses the tumor. And just like makes these sounds I had never heard. And I went, “This is a game changer.” I mean, this is of spirituality and soul and whatever God-concept a person has.
And so, the lesson the long way around was like through music or marketing or anything your authenticity will be revealed to you and you will go there even if it’s kicking and screaming, even if it’s contrived.
Like, when you’re a marketer and you’re serious and you’re heartfelt and you’re honest, then lead with authenticity because that’s where you’re gonna get anyway or you’re not gonna have a job.
Being contrived doesn’t work. The joke’s on you as a marketer or a musician.
Woj: And I think like dolphins, you’ve gotta have a good intuition.
Marty: Yes. Oh, yeah. The great products market themselves and it’s our job to not screw it up. Michelangelo said famously that the sculpture exists inside the stone and it’s your work with God that allows you to uncover it. And it’s your job to reveal the beauty that is within.
Marketing great products is like that. The sculpture exists inside the stone and it’s your job to reveal it.
If there’s shit inside the stone, then it’s not gonna help. You can wrap a shitty project up in a bow, but wrap a turd in a bow and you’re a great marketer, you’ll sell it once and then you won’t have a job anymore.
There is no retention for shitty products.
If you had to promote your dolphin music and create a psychographic profile, what would that be?
Marty: Well, keeping in mind it’s the “and” operator, not the “or” operator that matters. It used to be with psychographic targeting that it was badminton or botany and one made the audiences larger. But now we have layered buckets of targeting that use the “and” operator.
I would target people who have a strong charitable interest, very strong interest in marine mammals of all types, people who listen to other artists that are similar to the music that I’m making. And the pitch would be we’re going to donate some of the money from this remarkable CD to preserve dolphins.
Credit: Marty Weintraub Twitter
I would also look for high income. You can’t do this here so much in Australia, but in America we could filter it by people who make a boatload of money, like who use their credit cards to buy things online. I think about it now and it would have been so easy to do it.
I’ve come to the conclusion as a marketer now that most of the great art that has ever been created in this world was never seen by anybody. Because there was no distribution to achieve critical mass.
How many brilliant artists have languished in obscurity when they had the shit? They just had it. It’s not to say that the people who made it to prominence were not some of the greatest artists in the history of humanity. I just believe that before targeted distribution, most great art languished in obscurity. My friend, Michael King, just bought a rap label. Michael King‘s one of the hottest marketers in the world. iPullRank. And Michael just bought a rap label and he goes, “I’ve been a rap artist for years, but I haven’t made a lot of money as a rap artist.” Now he goes, “Well, I might as well do rap, since I know how to sell it.”
What’s the question that you’ve never been asked before but you wish you were asked?
Marty: Well, that’s how to be happy with what I’ve been given. How does a person become happy with what they’re given?
Marty: You pay attention to what’s happening first. Happiness begins with an awareness of what’s happening, so you observe. And then, you take the time to describe it to yourself in words. “This is me getting my needs met. This is me feeling this, anxiety, depression, anger, joy.” So observe and describe. And then participate. To be where you are, fully there. Right now, I’m just really right here, I’m not thinking about anything else. So observe, describe and participate.
Then to take each of those three things and apply the following filters, non-judgemental. Here’s what I see, I’m not judging it, they are just facts. I’m describing it non-judgmentally and I’m participating without judgement. Non-judgmentally, one-mindfully, meaning this is what we’re doing. This is what we’re doing and effectively.
So observe, describe and participate one mindfully, non-judgmentally and effectively. That seems to be the recipe to reduce suffering and increase happiness.
And how do you mitigate external influences affecting your trajectory of being successful?
Marty: To understand that life is really messy, it just is. Life is messy and the difference between pain, which is inevitable and suffering is acceptance. So, I work hard in almost a Buddhist kind of way to just accept what is happening. You don’t have to like it, might be contrary to what you want and need, might be unfavorable. Accepting something doesn’t mean condoning it or saying you like it. So, it seems to me that the secret of life is acceptance.
Woj: Yes. Being self-aware. It’s a physical awareness in some ways; it is what it is.
Marty: Life is messy. So focusing on mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, the part where I work hard at you and me, emotional regulation, which is how to handle difficult emotion and distress tolerance, which is where emotional people survive. I survive by getting through this moment. What do I have to do? Do I have to put my face into ice water? Do I have to run really fast to get my heart rate up? Mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation and distress tolerance, has made me a much better business executive, partner, dad.
Woj: And is that something you recommend to other business leaders and founders to take a bit of a personal journey to get to the root of what’s happening mentally out there?
Marty: My good friend Rand Fishkin just did an amazing piece on CNN about mental health issues amongst Silicon Valley kind of professionals. And I think that mental health issues are a strong epidemic amongst the most beautiful of us. The more you’re qualified for the vision piece, the more it’s important to watch your own mental health. Without that type of work, I’d probably be a raging narcissist that everybody hates. Instead, I’m very comfortable inside my own skin and having a pretty good time.
Credit: Marty Weintraub Twitter
Lastly: What does the future of marketing look like and will audiences survive it?
Marty: The future of marketing is feeding the machine as it taps human wisdom and creativity, so we’re needed less in the future. And to survive the most important thing is to not focus on any channel, platform, engine, community, network, but to focus on which ones are available and what they do and fill in the cluster thought for businesses that don’t know what’s happening.
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